Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Easy Baking

With the temperatures sinking into single digits, now is a good time to bake. It warms up the kitchen directly, which, with its drafty windows and northwest corner face, has always been the coldest room in the house. I decided the best things to bake were the ones that didn't need a lot of work to them. That way, I could do more than one thing.

Voila. Christmas presents.

The Whoopie Pie Mix I got last year. I'm not real fond of peppermint so the inspiration to actually make the mix was just never there. I decided that this year I did not have to use the peppermint if I didn't really want to, so I had to root around in the cupboard to find the box. "I know it's blue," I said, as I moved pasta and oatmeal and vegetable oil and canned pumpkin. Well, part of it is blue.

First to be baked were the scones. The mix just requires water and it mixed with a fork. The batter tasted pretty good and hot "scones" were out of the oven in 12 minutes.

The photo makes them look a bit washed out but they are a golden brown and studded with mini chocolate chips. The package says the dough can be patted into a 10 inch circle on the lightly greased cookie sheet you're going to use to bake them. You score the circle and then, after it bakes, you cut along the scoring for the traditional scone wedge. I just dropped the batter by large tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet and baked them that way. I got 20 scones which is better than 8 large wedges.

This was quick. From start to finish, it took 45 minutes. Can't beat that for fresh baked goods. The scones are a touch dry in the baked form and seem to lose some of the chocolate flavor after being baked. But then scones are usually served with jam for breakfast or tea. I've been bringing some to work with me for lunch. They travel very well. If I were to get this mix again, I might consider adding a half teaspoon of vanilla which will heighten the chocolate flavor. This mix is a thumbs up.

Now, for the whoopie mix.

While you just add water to the scone mix, you had to add oil, egg and milk to the whoopie pie mix. It also has to be beaten using an electric mixer. That makes it more work intensive than a fork. The batter was a rich chocolate with a glossy look to it. You just drop it by tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet. I'm thinking, "yeah and it bakes into a circle. Right."

Will you look at that. That's about as uniform a circle as I've seen in cookies. I have 18, I believe.

I put these in a plastic bag. The next step is to make the fluffy frosting that goes in the middle of the sandwiches. The peppermint pieces could be incorporated into the frosting or, as the package shows, the edges of the sandwiches rolled in the peppermint. I'm not using the peppermint. I'll just wrap each cookie and bring a couple to lunch.

So, the baking this weekend was very successful. I have scones for lunch and snack and even for breakfast, as scones are wont to be eaten. I have chocolate cookies I could eat just as they are, but I'll work on making the frosting and actually assembling the whoopie pies as they are intended.

Best of all, the kitchen was warm and the house smelled like chocolate. Can't beat that.

Beverage:  Darjeeling tea


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