Baking was always a little tedious for me in my younger years with following a recipe, measuring and weighing ingredients...where was the personal expression? I liked cooking for that outlet of creativity, smelling, stirring and tasting as you went along. But now, haking has become a chemistry experiment! Taking a recipe and following it to the letter as a dry run, followed by evaluation process...was it what I had hoped, what could be better...This is where the fun and joy originate for me in the baking process. How can I improve upon something good, even great.
This Valentines Day, I saw a recipe in Martha Stewart Living Magazine's February issue for Peanut butter and Jelly cookies. The cookies were rolled into balls, flattened and then a thumb print at 11:00 and 1:00 made a heart shape, later to be filled with jam. The recipe was good and most of the kids LOVED them in my son's class. So the challenge was on...how could I improve the recipe? (Funny you should ask)
I started my "elevation process" by using CB's Organic freshly ground roasted peanut butter from the dispenser at Sunny Farns, CB's is a local roaster in Kingston, WA(soon to become a field trip video-watch for it). The product was pure roasted peanut butter with a touch of salt, an appealing granular texture with still some cream but without any oils to mix.
The next "boost" was to use Nash's Soft White Winter Wheat Pastry Flour milled here in Sequim by Bell Street Bakery. (I used it previously in my Grandma's cinnamon roll recipe). The flour is weightier than the all white version but with a added bonus of a nutty, possibly sweet taste. I find that the flour amplifies the nutty factor and texture without weighing it down like a conventional whole wheat flour might.
As a fun twist on the Jelly center idea, my husband, ever the Reeses Peanut butter cup fan, suggested using chocolate instead of jelly. It was also well received but now AMAZING. How could I improve it? (Love a curious reader!) Dark chocolate rather than the original semi sweet will potentially add a deeper chocolate flavor.I WILL be keeping you up to date on the trials and hopefully "elevations" of recipies.
The morale today is to use GREAT, hopefully local ingrediants whenever possible! BRAVO Nash's, Bell Street and CB's Nuts!!!