Tuesday, October 20, 2009


This past week, I seemed to have more cooking fiascos than usual. Things just didn't go the way they should, whether it be user error with my pecan sour cream biscuits turning out flat as usual or the help of my children, like the pumpkin chocolate cheesecake. It seems like each cooking experience ended up being a learning experience. Some of the problems I don't know the solution too, others I figured out on my own (thanks wikipedia!). Since we learn from our own and others' mistakes, let me enlighten you to my week.

1. I can't get biscuits to rise. I think I am figuring out problems. This week, I didn't get my proportions of liquid to flour quite right, that could be a problem. I've also found I'm better off using a pastry blender than my fingers to combine the butter. I also suspect my method of using the biscuit cutter is part of the problem because my free form pieces seem to rise better than my pretty scalloped edge round biscuits. Still working on this one, so until I get it right, I will just keep experimenting (and hoping my mom will divulge her secret for biscuit making).

2. Marbling cheesecake is hard when one of the batters has melted chocolate in it. I also thinking using the mixture to combine one make inconsistency in the batter as well. The chocolate just seems to clump together and won't marble in with plain-ish batter. I had this problem with both the pumpkin chocolate cheesecake and espresso cheesecake brownies. I think for awhile, I may just layer things instead of marbling them.

3. Malabar spinach is not the same as regular spinach. (See post on Spinach Feta Focaccia)

4. Add extra baking time if using frozen pumpkin (winter squash) in recipes.

5. Don't leave the pumpkin chocolate cheesecake out in the open to cool to room temperature. Put this behind a locked door. Otherwise, a hungry family member may think they can't until the cheesecake cools to start eating it. The said family member may pull their little 2 1/2 year old fingers through the cheesecake leaving deep canyons. The said family member may use their little 2 1/2 year old hands to scoop out cheesecake by the fistful to eat it. This will make the baker quite upset, almost breaking her will to bake anything else. (Cheesecake carnage is pictured. It's hard to adequately capture the damage since it was somewhat marbled).

Quite a cooking week. I hope to get back in my groove next week. Maybe if I can some good night's sleep thrown in there, that will help too. I've had enough cooking fiascos for a little while. Time to make masterpieces again! :)


Jen Verde said...

I don't know if this will help with your biscuit problem, but this is a Fine Cooking article about biscuit making that I read a few weeks ago.



Melani said...

Thank you! I suspected it was my butter incorporating techniques. I'll need to try it this way. I also think I am not cutting my biscuits straight up and down because my free form biscuits rise more. I'll need to keep experimenting.