Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall Happenings

For the most of this fall, or at least it has felt like, I have been spending many evenings inside working on algebra problems, and remembering the rules of geometry. I ran a pen out of ink and filled a whole notebook up with my practice.  I learned what hirsute means. All of this tedium came to an end last week with a successful run at the GRE. I promptly celebrated with a Nopales burrito at a Mexican to-go stand attached to a tiny convenience store that had been beckoning to me on the ride into my parent's house for awhile now.

Now I can get back to tending projects that have been neglected, here is what I have been up to in the mean time. 

,A delicious kitchen experiment using lye to make traditional German pretzels.

 This apple weighed more than a pound. A light afternoon snack for Angel.

 Two of my most recent baking endeavors. The pumpkin caramels were a mix of salty and sweet, a welcome addition to the vast realm of pumpkin goods. Underneath are a new favorite cookie - one made with spent grain from beer brewing.

My coworker has a larger than average brewing operation and will boil up to 20 pounds of barley for a brew. After boiling the barley the wort (boiling liquid) is drained off to be made into beer, and the spent grain is left behind. He gladly donated the spent grain  for me to experiment with in bread and other baked goods. If you don't have spent grain, oats or any other grain could work well in the cookies.

Spent Grain Cookies

1 c flour
1/2 c barley flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 c light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp kosher salt
1 c rolled oats
1 c toasted spent grain
1 c toasted, roughly chopped hazelnuts
3 oz. roughly chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugars, vanilla, molasses and salt and beat until well combined, a few minutes. Add eggs to combine. In another bowl mix the flours, baking soda, and spices. Add the flour mixture to the butter in two parts, combining completely between additions. As soon as the flour is combined, add in the oats, grain, hazelnuts, and chocolate. Mix until all additions are distributed evenly. Drop onto a baking sheet with parchment, and sprinkle the tops with demerara sugar. Bake 10-12 minutes, and cool on a rack.