Tag Archives: baking

Inspiration: GBBO

Other than knitting, I think my favorite hobby is baking.  I love making cakes and cookies, pies and buns.  The more complicated the better.  Last year I even made a dozen mini fruitcakes for my family for Christmas.  It involved a lot of baking, about 5 pounds of dried fruit and a whole bottle of brandy.  I even had a cookie baking blog back in the day.  I definitely love baking.

So naturally, one of my favorite shows is the Great British Bake Show (or Great British Bake Off, if you’re outside of the USA).  The contestants are all so talented!  I had been baking up a storm (pre-baby and pre-middle-of-summer-without-air-conditioning), making Victoria Sandwiches, Tea Cakes, and Swiss Rolls.  My husband has been working to perfect his Kouign Amann technique (which I’m happy to help him test).

And this season (Season 5 if you go by PBS, Season 3 if you go by the original BBC order), there’s something that makes Bake Show even better! That’s right… you guessed it…Sweaters!

Precisely, sweaters worn by one particular contestant and resident of the Shetland Isles, James!Every week he rolls up to the tent with yet another gorgeous Fair Isle sweater, vest, or cardigan.  I look forward to his knitwear almost more than the baking!

And in the spirit of James, let’s look at some amazing, full-on Fair Isle vests!

I love the neutral palette of this sweater, and the classic shape.  I could totally see wearing this to go compete in the tent!

Edward by Rita TaylorThis one is a little more modern, a little brighter, and a little more my style.  I like the slimmer cut and bright color choices.

#03 V-nek vest by Yoko HattaBut, I think this one is my favorite!  I love the interesting edging- no plain ribbing here! Plus, the Fair Isle pattern is crazy complex and absolutely gorgeous!  (Not that I’d ever have the patience to knit this guy up!)

Fair Isle Vest WG 54 (aka April in Wisconsin aka Traditions) by Meg SwansenDo you watch GBBO?  What’s your favorite baked good?

Inspiration: Christmas Cookies

I mentioned on Wednesday that I’m getting ready to begin my yearly Epic Baking Adventure.  I’ve been doing my Epic Baking Adventure just about every year since college, with more or less Epicness depending on the year.  I usually make a half dozen (or more) types of cookies, give them out to friends, take them when I visit someone’s house, and (honestly) eat more of them than I should.

Every year, the menu varies slightly (usually by adding on an extra variety or two).  This year, I’m making sugar cookies (of course), chocolate crinkles, spritz, pfeffernusse (a must-do holiday tradition in my husband’s family), mocha meringues (if it doesn’t rain too much), and soft caramels.  And, maybe I’ll add on a cookie or two if I get done with those too quickly.  (We’re having a small Christmas this year, just the two of us, so I’m trying not to go too over the top.)

Let’s celebrate Christmas Cookies with some cookie-themed patterns:

This little guy is too cute!  I love the big red gumdrop buttons and the “piped” icing details.  I’m not actually a big fan of gingerbread cookies.  If I’m going to make gingerbread, I usually make a big old gingerbread cake and serve it with generous dollops of whipped cream.  Yum!

Christmas Gingerbread Boy by Teresa AlvarezI love that this designer made patterns for 5 different cookies.  I think the variety is really what makes Christmas cookies special.  When else do you get to make (and eat) dozens and dozens of different cookies without guilt?

Christmas Deco Cookies (Set of 5) by Eva PolaripopAnd how could you forget Santa?! The most fiendish of cookie fiends!  When we were kids, my brother and I would always leave out cookies and milk for Santa (even though we didn’t super believe in him, it was better to be sure… just in case).  I love these cookies- you could totally use them as super-cute coasters this winter.

Santa’s Cookies by Jessica SpencerI can’t wait to get baking this year!

What cookies are tradition in your house?


Snack Time!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can work up an appetite with all my knitting.  After all, it’s practically exercise, right?  (Right?  Maybe?)  And, when you grab a snack to go with your knitting, you don’t want anything too gooey, or covered in cheese dust (getting Cheetos-powder out of merino is more trouble than it’s worth). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love a cup of tea and a plate of these amazing scones when I’m knitting (or doing just about anything else).  They’re slightly sweet, buttery, flaky and delicious.  They’re crunchy on the outside, and soft and tender on the inside.  I like to throw in a couple handfuls of raisins or blueberries.  They come together in about a half hour (from ingredients in the pantry to a plate of finished deliciousness).  And, the recipe is easy to halve if you have self-control issues (like me).  These scones are amazing right out of the oven, but they’re great warmed up in a toaster oven the next day, too.

Simple Sweet Scones

Yields: 12 or 16 small scones

2 1/2 C all purpose flower

1 Tbl baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 stick (8 Tbl) cold butter, cut up

1/4 C granulated sugar

2/3 C milk

Heat oven to 425 F.  Put flower, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl; stir to mix well.

Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers until the mixture looks like fine granules.  Add sugar; toss to mix.

Add milk and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.  Form dough into a ball, put onto a lightly floured board and give 10-12 kneads.

To make triangular scones, cut dough in half.  Knead each half lightly into a ball and turn smooth side up.  Pat or roll into a 6-8 inch circle.  Cut each circle into 6 or 8 wedges.  Place wedges on an ungreased cookie sheet-slightly apart for crisp sides, touching for soft sides.

Bake about 12 minutes, or until medium brown on top.  Put a linen or cotton dish towel on a wire rack, cover loosely with the cloth and cool completely before serving (if you can wait that long).