Avid Baker’s Challenge – Roasted Vegetable Focaccia


Well, apparently it’s been three months since I last posted. Life has gotten in the way.

This month’s Avid Baker’s Challenge is roasted vegetable focaccia. The recipe can be found here at the King Arthur Flour website.

I originally began this two weeks ago but the starter got out of hand and it sat around for over 24 hours and then I was afraid that I would somehow poison everyone with overactive yeast. So I started again yesterday. This was also the first time I’ve used the dough hook on the KitchenAid.

The Spare liked it plain, so I resolved to make some without any vegetables and to use it as a dipping bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I’ll also add fresh rosemary

I found this recipe to be very labor intensive, but now that I’ve worked through it, I see where I can make it easier on myself and I think it will be quick and easy. The actual “work” involved is very small, but this is something that you have to plan to make since it takes about 18 hours of total time to rise.

Check out the other iterations found at Avid Baker’s Challenge.


Posted in Avid Baker's Challenge, Baking, King Arthur Flour, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Avid Baker’s Challenge: English Digestives

The May challenge at Avid Baker’s Challenge is the King Arthur Flour English Digestive biscuits.

These were super quick to knock together. The hardest part was waiting for the butter to come to room temperature. I also used this occasion to bust out my Queen Elizabeth silhouette cookie cutter that I bought from Fancy Flours. I was less successful with the thickness of the cookies. Some were closer to 1/4 inch than 1/8 inch. If I make these again I would stick to the thicker, 1/4 inch cookie. I didn’t quite get the baking time down pat either. Some were much crispier than others. I preferred the less crispy, thicker version. Overall they were good. A nice crumbly texture. I definitely think a cuppa would have improved them. I ate mine after it cooled without any liquid.


The recipe can be found here along with a picture of what traditional digestives should look like.

According to the King Arthur Flour website, “these biscuits were developed during the latter part of the 19th century to increase fiber in Victorian diets. Digestive Biscuits are really just sophisticated graham crackers and are very simple to make. They are delicious with tea and fruit.”

1/2 cup (2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup (2 ounces) cold milk

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Measure the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. With a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture. Toss in the sugar and enough milk to make a stiff dough.

Knead this mixture on a floured surface until smooth. (All this can be done almost instantly in a food processor.) Roll the dough out to a bit more than 1/8 inch thick and cut into any desired shape. Traditionally, digestive biscuits are round and about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on greased cookie sheets, prick evenly with a fork, and bake until pale gold, between 15 and 20 minutes.

Let me know if you try these out!

Posted in Avid Baker's Challenge, Baking, English digestives, Fancy Flours, King Arthur Flour | 10 Comments

7 Quick Takes: computer problems, pineapple upside down cake, and a triple take!

— 1 —

So I crashed my laptop, probably literally. Sometimes I let it balance on the arm of the loveseat and occasionally it falls to the floor. Funny thing about it deciding to stop working. It went to Best Buy for a couple of days where it was diagnosed with a dying hard drive. Then The Patriarch bought an external hard drive, downloaded some Linux program, and retrieved all my data, then replaced the hard drive and then we had to order Windows 7 and finally it’s back up and running. Except I have no Office software so, I need to attend to that. In the interim I decided to see what Candy Crush Saga was about, because I’m all up to date like that. I’m stuck at level 109.

— 2 —

We live in the part of the country where it’s bad allergy season pretty much every day. Add a child with lots of environmental allergies (fortunately not to dog hair or dust mites or we’d have to change our entire living arrangements) and it can be problematic. He’s pretty miserable but we’re trying to stay on top of everything with his allergy shots and nasal steroids.

He’s doing otherwise well learning to throw discus and shot put as a high school freshman. He’s also learning the trombone and will be in Marching Band next year. The only thing any of the rest of us can play is the radio.

— 3 —

Toffee cookies

The Spare and I made excellent cookies last weekend. We found this recipe on Hershey’s site. They were fabulous:

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup HEATH BITS ‘O BRICKLE Toffee Bits
1 cup HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips


Heat oven to 375°F.
Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs; blend well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in toffee bits and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies

Of course, we never have exactly all the ingredients so we substituted dark brown sugar and we used Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits, so there’s that. And I used my handy little cookie scoop so I had these beautiful, same-size cookies. They were delicious.

I’d show you a picture but for some reason, probably related to quick take #1, I can’t upload any pictures. But you can hop over to Hershey’s website and see their lovely, professionally photographed cookies.

— 4 —

I found this really great website with some excellent tutorials on 11 DIY bracelets. I think these would be fun for moms and kids to do or to make while watching TV for gifts.


— 5 —

Since I got my KitchenAid I’ve really started baking a lot. Last night I made a fabulous pineapple upside down cake. I found it here It’s absolutely delicious. I love the arrangement of pineapples.


— 6 —

We also got some eye-popping news on Easter. A family member is having triplets. This is her first pregnancy and she’ll be an antique mommy, so please pray for mummy and daddy and the three wee ones. I’m probably going to devote an entire post to this topic but I’m trying to find some clarity about how I feel. They are not Catholic so it’s raising some difficult emotions in us: happiness for the new lives, fear of complications, as well as a large dose of ambivalence. Our youngest is a high school freshman, the expectant couple are close to us physically, but I’m at the age where I’m not sure I want to be intimately involved with little babies on a more than casual basis. However, the Patriarch and the expectant daddy are very close. Lets say I’m very much a work in progress.

— 7 —

So, for all you non-Catholics, I’d like to recommend Jennifer Fulwiler’s “Something Other Than God”. It’s her awesome conversion story. You can find it here. I challenge you to read it!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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