Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘baking Rocks’

Mix-Up!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December  2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Mix-Up!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December  2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Mix-Up!, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December  2008, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.



Have you ever had a cooking or baking fiasco? These Holiday Rocks may look perfectly normal, but peer a bit closer — they are blonder than the delicious Rocks that Mom makes. And the taste buds don’t lie! They were bitter and a LOT drier. We made the mistake of using year-old nuts from the freezer, whole wheat flour from last year’s Holiday baking, and (the icing on the cake) we grabbed the baking powder when we should have added baking soda.

What’s the difference between baking soda and baking powder? Baking soda is bicarbonate of soda (NaHCO3) which when combined with an acidic ingredient, such as vinegar or the lactic acid in buttermilk (the sour milk in traditional Rocks), releases carbon dioxide which forms into bubbles in the food. Baking powder contains baking soda along with cream of tartar and a starch. The mixture of baking soda and an acid in powdered form, combine in liquid to create the same reaction.

According to Kitchen Savvy, baking soda, combined with an equal measure of cornstarch and twice as much cream of tartar, can be used to replace baking powder. However, baking powder generally should not be substituted for baking soda since this will leave excess acidic compounds in the food which may affect flavor, texture and color. Whoops!


Did I mention our Rocks were also bitter? Part of the bitterness was from the baking powder. The other part was because the pecans had been in the freezer for a year and had gone a bit rancid. We threw the first batch of Rocks out (the squirrels loved them!) and took a trip to the store for new ingredients.

It wasn’t until the second batch that we discovered we had used the baking powder instead of the baking soda. Round two tasted alright (and we did eat them all) but they were dry and crumbly and the dates were chewy.

On top of all that, we tried to make Frito Pie over Thanksgiving and, guess what, the pinto beans never got soft. We soaked them overnight, then simmered them over 7 hours. When Liz mentioned it to her mom, she told us if beans are too old, they never get soft, no matter how much you cook them. Back to the store for fresh pintos!


Tis the season to spread a little Holiday food cheer and most people are cooking up a storm. We touched on cooking fiascos in the comments on one of our Thanksgiving posts. Care to share the times when your cooking or baking flopped, fell, melted, stiffened, or took a dive?

If you don’t have any culinary nightmares, when’s the last time you had a good food fight? (One of my favorites is from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes.)


Grab a line for a Writing Practice, then, 10 minutes, Go!


My first cooking fiasco…..

My first food fight….

The last time I bombed in the kitchen…


-posted on red Ravine, Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Read Full Post »

Bakers Dozen, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Pinwheels & Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Baking rocks for the Holidays is a tradition in our family. The name “Rocks” sounds kind of iffy. But trust me, they are delicious.

Liz had never had them before. I turned off the computer, turned up the Christmas music, and convinced her to bake up a batch to take to Solstice. I was the right-hand cook, chopping dates, locating the buried hand mixer, digging out the muffin tins, stealing tasty swipes of raw batter while Liz rolled together the ingredients.

Mom sent me the recipe a few weeks ago, adding all the little tips and tidbits Aunt Cassie passed down to her. Recipes weren’t written down in the past. They were passed from mother to daughter by story and word of mouth. (When I called to ask my sister the baking time for smaller muffin tins, she was making Rocks, too! And was only a few steps behind Liz in the mixing.) Now recipes are passed on to fathers and sons. My brothers are as apt to bake as I am.

I searched high and low for the history of Rocks. I came up empty. They seem similar to the Rock Cakes that originated in England (and are featured in one of the Harry Potter books). The batter has some of the same ingredients. But, no, they’re not Rock Cakes.

Rocks are not cupcakes, cookies, or cake. They aren’t fruit cake either. They seem to be a variation of all of these recipes. I am sure they are Southern. But when I was surprised by a call from my Aunt Annette in South Carolina this morning, and told her I was making Rocks, she said, “What, Honey? Rocks?” She had never heard of Rocks in her family. That caused me to scratch my head since I thought they were well known and widespread across the South.

If anyone knows the history of Rocks, please feel free to chime in in the comments. Meantime, I’ll keep my eyes open and continue to research as I write my memoir.

There was another little surprise today. While I was working on this post tonight and watching the Vikings play the Redskins, my brother called from Pennsylvania to say they had just taken a family portrait and I was included.

“Hmmm, that’s curious,” I said, “since I’m sitting on the couch in Minnesota.”

“Oh,” Mom said when he passed the phone to her, “you were here alright, QuoinMonkey. Even had a cute little bow in your hair.”

“We’ll send you the photos,” my sister said. “We’re having a blast taking family Holiday portraits.”

Same sentiments when the phone passed to my other brother, step-dad, and sister-in-law. There was laughter all around. Stay tuned.

And now, Amelia’s Rock recipe. Southern style.


6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.  6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.





BAKING ROCKS – SOUTHERN STYLE



SHOPPING LIST


1 1/2 scant cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups nuts (chopped) (I always use pecans in my recipes)
1 box dates (about 2 cups, cut
up) (Dromedary are best around here. Buy them whole and cut them into quarters; store-bought cut dates are coated and dry.)

2 1/2 cups plain flour (not self-rising flour) (sifted or fluffed with a fork; not packed or thumped; should be light and airy)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice (sift/fluff spices into flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda (in 2 tablespoons sour milk or warm water)



COOKING INSTRUCTIONS


Mix:

Rock Batter, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Cream butter and sugar.
Then gradually add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
Gradually add flour and spice mix.
Mix soda in sour milk (or warm water). Fold into mixture, just until combined.
Stir in nuts and dates to coat all the pieces.


Bake:

Baking Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Fill cupcake pans 2/3 full.
Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 25 mins (or until toothpick comes out clean).


Eat:

5 Golden Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Rocks keep well and are better after the second day. Keep in covered container (you can also wrap in cloth towel). If they become too dry, add a slice of bread, broken up, to the container. They will absorb moisture from bread.

My recipes were written by Aunt Cassie and didn’t have any directions. We were suppose to know all the extras, so I wrote them in for you. Mixing really well makes a difference with a lot of cakes.


That’s Mom’s recipe for Rocks. I like them warm. Right out of the oven. But the best part of baking Rocks? Rocks smell like home.


6 1/2 Rocks, baking Christmas rocks, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2007,photo © 2007 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

-related to post, Southern Banana Pudding – A Family Tradition

Read Full Post »