Lemon Meringue Pie

I asked my Dad, “What would you like me to make for Father’s Day?” He requested Lemon Meringue Pie. Well, this pie is more complicated than I had hoped and he ended up getting the pie on July 1st instead. Thankfully, he liked it!

I bought lemons for this. Please no one tell my Grandma! I would use the ones from her tree but she feeds birds and squirrels and her Lemons look like she has a horde of animals living in her yard. Which, she does.

I made a big ole’ pie crust for this but I did not use any pie weights. So, my pie crust sunk. I will definitely not forget the pie weights again! They are super important to be sure my crust keeps its lovely shape!

And, here is the slumped post-baked pie crust. It’s not everything I hoped for.

I wanted to toss this one away and start again but the morning is the only time I can run the oven in the summer and it was already 10:30 by the time this interesting pie crust was done.

The custard for this pie had an increased level of difficulty compared to the Banana Cream Pie. And, I desperately need a zester thing if I am ever to make this again.

There is nothing like acidic foods to remind you of all the cuts you have on your fingers. Good times!

The pie needed 4 egg yolks to go in the custard and the 4 egg whites were to be used for the meringue. Getting the egg yolks was easy! The whites, not so much.

I tried to be super patient while mixing in the egg whites. I’ve watched enough cooking shows to know what bad things can happen when you try to heat eggs and not fry them.

I wish the meringue had been as easy as the custard! It took two tries.

These were the egg whites I used in my first attempt. I can see the bits of yellow in the eggs even in this small picture. So sad! I knew to be careful but I didn’t know I needed to be precise!

This batch of egg whites did not get past the foam stage in my mixer.

I gave up on this batch at about 13 minutes. Then I started again!

After each separation, I poured the safe egg white into my mixer’s bowl.

The end result of this batch of separation was a success! No little yellow spots in this batch!

The foam stage was almost instant with the good egg whites!

Not quite stiff enough in the above picture, so I beat them for about 4 more minutes.

The end result seemed perfect! Thank you Food Network for teaching young me how meringue is supposed to look! Even though I no longer have cable TV, I’ve never forgotten!

The lemon custard filled up my pie crust just perfectly! Thankfully the meringue will cover the less than pretty crust edges.

Adding the meringue to the pie was pretty fun! I tried to keep as much air in it as I could but I still squashed it a bunch!

This part still confuses me, I’m nut sure what happens to the meringue in the oven to make it become stiff but I’m glad it did!

After putting in so much work and seeing the pictures again, I’m sad that I didn’t try a piece! If I ever make this again, I will definitely try some!

My Dad sent me a picture of the inside after it had been refrigerated and he’d removed the first piece, looks great!

I had read online about meringue toppings starting to weep if they don’t become firm enough but thankfully it looks like mine stayed strong!

I haven’t baked anything in two weeks so I’m going to have to get on it! =)

Banana Cream Pie – May 2017

This is really a half-post as I’m missing some really important pics for a food post! Ya know, the pictures of how it looks cut open or how it looks done? Yeah, those ones are the ones I’m missing for this… also the crust before it was filled … ugh! But, I did put in some effort and I don’t want to forget about it later so here are some pictures!

This was my absolute first time making any type of custard for anything! Though I love to cook and bake I seem to stick to cookies/cakes/toffee and recipes I know I’ll like already. This recipe was made by request from my Grandma.

After eating this, which was made from some recipe I googled, she declared it was better than Marie Calendars! I think that is high praise =)

The custard actually went really well, I remember following the directions of the recipe closely as I had no idea what I was doing so I didn’t want to improvise. I made my cookies off of the top of my head and with some hope but this I put in true effort!

I did not make whipped cream. I used the out of the can kind. I used expensive out of the can kind from Whole Foods though, I spared no expense!

After adding the whipped cream, I molded it with a knife and made it look super pretty!

**picture of my completed banana cream pie**

So, I learned something new that day! It seems that whipped cream becomes soup. I did not know this because I have never been a fan of whipped cream and so haven’t used it much. Therefore, by the time I served my pie, about 2 hours after finishing it, it was all melty and soupy … ugh, my Grandma said that it is supposed to do that. And, I just took her word for it!

My grandma took home all the rest of the pie and said she ate it during the week! I picked up my pie plate later so I could make some more pie…

Up next is the Lemon Meringue pie I made for my Dad … that was fun ><

Mini Cinnamon Rolls

This was my very very first time ever trying to make cinnamon rolls. I didn’t realize when I started this recipe that they weren’t going to be full sized cinnamon rolls though which was disappointing!

The recipe is pretty basic and I was able to make it very quickly. But, every other aspect of this recipe is what made it take around 6 hours to complete! Ahhh! ~~

The dough had to go through two separate risings! First by itself before being rolled out.

I let the dough rise until it had about tripled in size.

After the first rising, I made my filling and got ready to roll out my dough.

Making the filling was way easier than rolling out the dough .. and It was a lot easier than adding the filling to the dough!

I tried to use Paul Hollywood’s rolling technique. Always go from the middle out, try to start your dough in a similar shape to what you need to roll it out into, and move your dough to be sure it doesn’t stick to the board. This helped!

I ultimately got a ruler and then cut my dough into similar sizes. I then separated my filling in two and added it to the dough in the middle.

 

I used a silicone spatula to spread out the filling and I tried to make it even. Clearly I did a better job with the roll on the right side but that is okay!

Now the below photo confuses me … there are four rolls … Did I roll out four pieces of dough? I only have pictures of two pieces of dough at a time so I’m not sure! I’ll assume I did and that I didn’t magically duplicate my dough? I guess that would be for the best.

 

It was important for this recipe to roll the dough length wise (hot dog style for us previous elementary students in the ’90s). But, I wished I had just rolled it up the other way (hamburger style) and made thick cinnamon rolls! Oh, why didn’t I notice that before!!

After rolling them, I think they went in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up a bit before being cut. I’m not sure it helped. My rolls were little triangles.

Thankfully, they all fit in my larges baking dish and that is when they needed their second rest period.

After the second period of resting, I got to put them in the oven to bake! Yay, I had made it so far with this project. I really should just stick with cookies, haha =p

I refused to have under baked cinnamon rolls so I left them in there about 5 minutes longer than I was comfortable with and it was worth it!

Oh, I lined my baking dish with parchment paper before baking. I don’t really like to use oil/spray because I can taste it and I don’t want to use butter/flour because I feel like it doesn’t do a good job so I’m a parchment girl, always!

I made about 3/4 a cup of icing (powdered sugar, cold water, vanilla extract) to drizzle on top. I should have done more! I’d have rather had it flooding down the sides than lightly coating the rolls! Now I know!

The extra few minutes paid off! The cinnamon rolls tore apart nicely and they looked great on the inside! This was absolutely not worth the effort though! I could have read an entire book during the time it took me to make these!

Not sure I’ll ever make cinnamon rolls again, if I do though, I’ll for sure post about it! haha!

 

Graduation Cake

The whole week leading up to my graduation party I kept thinking “I want to make a nice fluffy yellow cake from scratch”. It was a nice thought. Ultimately, I bought 4 packages of the below chocolate cake mix.

Clearly, this resulted in a chocolate cake not a yellow one. But it was easier and, unfortunately, it was also a lot more expensive since each mix is about $6~ ><

Though the mix itself is vegan, I used powdered milk instead of almond milk which means my cakes aren’t vegan … but since my frosting is made with real butter and there were only going to be vegetarians (and of course individuals who eat meat too) at the party and not vegans, I thought this was okay.


Something else I like about this mix that is not typical is that the mix specifically states that it is nut free which is great for my nephews! Again, this isn’t a problem if I make it by hand as I know not to add products with nuts, thankfully!

I made the cake in two 9″x13″ cake tins. Meaning, this is the biggest cake I have ever made! Ever, ever! That’s pretty cool =)

I was very lucky that my layers turned out quite flat after baking! Therefore, I didn’t need to do any trimming, yay!

So, I think it was because I was watching a movie on Netflix while I made this that I didn’t plan properly with the frosting. I made the plain buttercream first and did a sort of crumb coat, the thickest crumb coat of my life!

I tried to make it as square as possible but I realized when I put on the blue layer that I could have done a better job of smoothing down my square-ness. It would have helped!

And, I forgot to take a picture of what it looked like all plain blue! Why?? But it was at that point that I realized my mistake. The cake was quite heavy now since it had about 3.5lbs of buttercream frosting on it and it was still on my cutting board!

I had to borrow my husband from the other room and use two spatulas (plus my clean hands) to lift it up off of the cutting board and onto the cardboard cake board.

Then I made a bright yellow buttercream for the decorations. Unfortunately, I didn’t make enough, because I was out of butter, so I had to go to the grocery store to get more butter and then make more frosting! This was getting insane ….

Right along with my cookie icing skills, I need to work on my cake decorating skills. Thankfully 4th of July is coming up so maybe I can practice on a patriotic cake? Hmmmm

So, there it is the night before!

And, below is what it looked like after being eaten! I think everyone was impressed (? not sure if that is the right term as they were also slightly confused) by the amount of frosting. I certainly enjoyed it! I passed some of it to my grandparents, some to my parents and kept a small amount for myself. My grandma said she froze hers so it’ll last longer ><

I am definitely proud of this cake! I spent about 5~ hours on it and I don’t think I could have gotten a better one for the same price anywhere =)

I’ll be posting more cookies and an apple pie pretty soon… I also have to make an attempt at a Lemon Meringue pie before my lemons go bad! I can do it! =)

Graduation Cookies: 2017

I’m so excited to have finally graduated with my Master’s degree, yay! After the commencement ceremony, I had some family over to celebrate and for the occasion I made cookies and cake!


My plan was to make 2017 cookies because that is the year I am graduating! I had to order a set of number cookie cutters as I didn’t have any >< I bought these and they worked great!

So, I perfectly cut out all of the 2017 that I wanted and then baked them! When pulling them out of the oven, I accidentally squashed one of my 7s! Oh no!

So, I made a batch of stars and one more 7 with my remaining sugar cookie dough.

Thankfully, sugar cookies stay relatively the same size when you bake them so they didn’t spread and I was able to fit the extra cookie on the same sheet.

To decorate my stars, I used some of my remaining butter cream frosting from my cake! Since I froze the cookies after, the frosting hardened well!

But, for my 2017 cookies, I wanted to use cookie icing. I didn’t make a royal icing, though I somewhat wished I had.

So, I used a #4 tip (pretty sure) to do the exterior piping and I tried to make it a bit thicker … It was messy >< I definitely need to practice this some more!

My flood icing was a little bit darker than my piping icing but I think they looked well together!

The icing hardened well but it was a warm day and we had the food outside for the party so they somewhat melted together!! Oh well! They tasted good, I wish I had kept some for myself instead of sending them all home with family ><

I also made some of my favorite chocolate chip + oreo cookies too. I did keep some of these!

Next post will be my super amateur graduation cake! =p

Peanut Butter Cookies: With Chips and Without

Not sure what Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe I used here but it wasn’t anything special, just a normal cookie recipe!

Like I usually do, I used my cookie batch in more than 1 way! I did half of them traditionally with the square pattern. And, the other half I did with peanut butter chips mixed in!

For the plain cookies, I tried to make them pretty uniform in shape. I also made them into little disks before putting them on the cookie sheet and then using my largest fork on them =p

Darn, no before picture of the peanut butter chip version!

Yum!

So glad I’m able to put some time towards posting a few pictures this week! My comprehensive exam and MBA graduation are over! I officially have a Master’s degree! So, I’ll be spending my time baking while looking for that awesome new career! ~~

Quick Cookie Batch ~

I had purchased some Easter colored M&M candies to be used during Easter … then I forgot about them!

Sometime in May, I “found” them and decided to make some cookies before a long day of studying!

This is the same cookie recipe I used last time with the melted butter, I just heated this butter in the microwave though, don’t have all day =p


I did half with the M&Ms and the other half with a bag of White Chocolate chips that were old .. not sure how old but I was sure they needed to be used up!

When I baked them, I did some on Oreo cookies (my personal specialty) and some just plain (normal) =)

I like how cute the little cookie dough balls look on top of the Oreos. Very adorable ^^

They were delicious! I think this batch lasted about a week between my husband and myself and my Dad! ~~