I LOVE TO BAKE AND BUILD THINGS!
Technically speaking, I guess I've made pies before, but I feel like I cheated. You see, the only pies I ever made before this one were Pumpkin and Pumpkin Pecan pie for Thanksgiving and for both of these pies, I am pretty sure I just used store bought pie crust. Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying there is anything illegal with store bought pie crust, but I figured if I had a baking blog I had to at least make my own pie crust once.....
So, I decided I would try my hand at making my first ever pie from scratch, and use fresh strawberries from the farm right up the street.
I used a recipe from the Wild Wild Whisk Baking Blog, and made a few small adaptations. I've also got some helpful tips and advice to supplement the original recipe.
PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS
CREAM FILLING INGREDIENTS
FRUIT TOPPING INGREDIENTS
*Parchment Paper: For this recipe, you will use the parchment paper to help in the blind baking process. Essentially, you will cover the pie crust with some parchment paper and then use some baking beans to weight down the parchment paper, which will help the pie crust bake and not rise up.
**Dry Baking Beans: These are used with the parchment paper above to help you "blind bake" your pie. You may be wondering what kind of beans to use...I just used some dry Navy Beans and they worked fine. Here is what Wikipedia says about Blind Baking:
Baking blind (sometimes called pre-baking) is the process of baking a pie crust or other pastry without the filling. Blind baking a pie crust is necessary when it will be filled with an unbaked filling (such as with pudding or cream pies), in which case the crust must be fully baked. It is also called for if the filling has a shorter bake time than the crust, in which case the crust is partly baked. Blind baking is also used to keep pie crust from becoming soggy due to a wet filling. [Wikipedia]
GET THE FRUIT FILLING READY
MAKE THE PIE DOUGH
PREPARE THE PIE CRUST IN THE DISH
BAKE THE PIE CRUST
PREPARE THE CREAM FILLING
ASSEMBLE THE PIE
During the first few weeks of each academic semester I distribute a midterm feedback survey to my students to solicit their comments on how they think the course / my teaching is going. One of the most typical responses I usually get on these surveys goes something like this "Mike when are you going to bake for us!?!"
In my ENES 102 course during the fall 2019 semester, I came across a similar comment: "Please bake white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies on 11/13". At first I got a good chuckle from this comment, but then I came to the conclusion that because the request was so uniquely polite and specific, I just had to honor it!
It turns out that the request was made by a student who's birthday was on 11/13. I hope that they enjoyed their special treat as much as I enjoyed trying out this delicious recipe!
I used a recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction as inspiration for this endeavor. You can find the original recipe here:
I found that the recipe makes about 30 or more cookies.
COOKIE DOUGH INGREDIENTS
*It might be useful to invest in a small kitchen scale to help with measuring things like flour, just to make sure you get the perfect amount.
*Parchment Paper: I use parchment paper every time I bake to assist with cleanup and to make the whole baking process easier. I'd definitely recommend it here as well.
*WHAT KIND OF MACADAMIA NUTS DID I USE?
I purchased a 10 oz package of roasted and salted macadamia nuts from Target for this recipe. The recipe had originally called for 1/2 teaspoon of salt, but I feel that this could be considered optional because the nuts themselves are roasted with salt already.
WHY MELTED BUTTER?
Using melted butter in cookies produces an extra buttery flavor as well as a chewier texture. That being said, you've got to be careful using melted butter because it can create runny / melted cookies. That is why chilling the cookie dough will be paramount.
I used butter straight from the refrigerator, and melted it in a standard bowl by microwaving it for 1 minute on medium heat. At the end of the 1 minute, I removed the bowl from the microwave, used a whisk to stir the butter, and microwaved it for another minute on medium power. Be careful not too "boil" the butter or melt it too much, slow and steady wins the race. Let the butter cool for a while before adding it to the other ingredients, because if it is too hot it can cook your eggs, which would probably make the cookies turn out pretty terrible!
CHILLING THE DOUGH FOR MORE THAN 2 HOURS IS IMPORTANT
I definitely messed this part up when I first made the cookies. if you do not chill the dough enough, you'll end up with puddles rather than cookies. Be patient and plan to chill the dough for at least 4 hours, or overnight if possible. Remember, good things come to those who wait! Also, while the cookies bake, you should transfer any unused dough back into the refrigerator to ensure that the dough stays chilled!
While cookies are definitely my favorite sweet treat, I also am a big fan of brownies, especially they fudgy kind. The fudgier the better!
I scoured the internet looking for the best "fudgy" brownie recipe, and I eventually came across one that had the following description:
"These chocolaty brownies have dense, fudgy middles and crinkly tops. They aren’t overly sweet. If you are like us and find yourself reaching for darker chocolate over milk chocolate, these are most certainly for you. They are one-bowl and come together in minutes. There’s also a good chance you already have all the ingredients on hand."
While there are a lot of good things in that description, they honestly hooked me at "dense, fudgy middles"...
The recipe I used was adopted from one used by Adam and Joanne Gallagher
I found that the recipe makes about 12 or so brownies.
*Parchment Paper: I use parchment paper every time I bake to assist with cleanup and to make the whole baking process easier. I'd definitely recommend it here as well. Lining the pan with aluminum foil and parchment paper makes cleaning up a breeze for this recipe!
Here is a pointer from the creators of this recipe that seems pretty important to mention: