Maybe it's time to invest in an American cookbook

Summer is flying by this year. I turned another year older. My husband forgot. The weather has been mild. The bill for having my car's AC fixed has been paid. Most of my summer to-do list remains undone. I'm wondering why I had held the illusion that things would get done on the house when my offspring are running around the place. My parents are visiting soon. The list of things that need to be done before they arrive should probably be started on soon. Please do not mention back to school lists...
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As for sewing, 3 pairs of capris have been shortened into shorts (I'm too short to get away with capris) and my kids finally have aprons. No, I have no justification for putting off such an easy project for so long, especially as I already had the pattern that I had put together for my nieces' aprons, um, a couple of years ago.
Reversible to this:
with soft twill straps:
They were judged by my offspring to be worth cleaning their rooms for. Their rooms aren't tidy any more.
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We made chocolate biscuit gateau when the oven wasn't working
and chocolate chip cookies and bran parkin cookies when we finally had the oven fixed.
Now I just need to add 'find out why my biscuits are not turning out the way they used to' to my to-do list. They taste ok, but they don't flatten like they used to and have a different texture. Grrr, I find baking over here so frustrating. I'm about ready to hang up my apron for good...
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Translation of the day:
UK English: biscuit = cookie in US English
Just a reminder, in case you thought that I was putting American style biscuits in chocolate.

22 comments:

  1. are you using butter or margarine for the biscuits/cookies? I've had the same problem moving from the east cost to California. I think the butter works better.

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  2. I had to send my friend, who lives in the UK some measuring cups since she was driven crazy by cooking in grams. I think it can be very difficult to change what you're used to using!

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  3. mine go all puffy and odd when i use self raising flour instead of plain....

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  4. someone already mentioned what I was going to say - butter and all the various types of margarine work differently in cookies, something about the difference in the melting point (water content maybe) makes them spread out on the cookie sheet or not.

    I like chewy oatmeal cookies, but my father wants them crisp. I like the taste of butter, but it seems to make the cookies thinner and crisper, so I have experimented with different ratios of butter to margarine or Smart Balance (BTW all margarines are not created equal either)

    baking is definitely a science, whereas cooking is more of an art (at least in my opinion)

    hope this helps,
    Andrea

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  5. Ha to the to do list. Not much has been crossed off mine either.

    I had the same problem when baking over here, using Swedish recipes. My Swedish breads especially turn out like bricks in the UK. I always thought it was due to the difference in flours.

    Love the aprons

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  6. Love, love, love the aprons!!! Well done.
    I'm a list girl too, but don't worry if the list doesn't get done.
    The house work will still be there tomorrow, but the kids will have grown and taken flight on their own before you know it! Enjoy every moment! :)

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  7. Those aprons are so cute. I'll bet the kids love them.

    Sorry about the biscuits. The hardest part of cooking for me over there was what the "gas mark" temperatures converted to from here. lol

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  8. Ah - biscuits are sooo different here! I'd love your recipe for the chocolate biscuit gateau.

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  10. Well, Happy late Birthday. I am sorry that is was forgotten.
    I was having trouble with baking too - mine was going from a gas oven to an electric oven. I had to lower the temp by 25 degrees on the electric oven.
    Goog luck!

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  12. Your cookies look lovely! Check out the Martha Stewart Cookies book. Although she gets on my nerves a bit, the book is really well put together and is divided into sections on different types of cookies--chewy, crispy, sandy, rich, etc.

    And then we'll work on teaching you how to make American biscuits. They're easy and delcious.

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  13. The aprons are cute! I understand your frustration. I simply have a different oven than I was used to, and it's taken me years to feel comfortable baking again. I hope you find a solution that works for you.

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  14. I LOVE your blog!!!!
    I'll be back!
    gabriele

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  15. Happy belated birthday! :D

    I'm from Ohio, so the only things I can think of to help your baking is maybe check the altitude you're at and use butter...? Maybe you're at a weird in-between altitude and it makes baking go screwy? ;)

    I would LOVE to make my girls some aprons like that! Where did you get the patter? :)

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  16. I once read a really powerful and wonderful blog post by a woman who said that none of us should stand by, waiting and hoping that our birthday will be celebrated the way we wish it to be (and then being disappointed when it isn't). Instead, we should plan our own celebrations, bake our own cakes (or order them from our favorite shops), and let our families know exactly what we want/hope for from them on the big day. I'm working on learning how to take this advice myself, but can tell you that I WILL have a birthday cake next year, even if I have to bake it myself! All the best to you~~

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  17. I was thinking about aprons for my girls, and your post popped in my head...if you are looking for a 'basics' type cookbook, the America's Test Kitchen recipe book has never failed me or my mom since she got it....lol..every time I ask her for a recipe it's from that book..lol.. http://www.americastestkitchen.com/

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  18. Wow, you have been busy sewing! I love the clothes you have made, hope the kids did too? You are driving me crazy with your cookie (biscuit) pictures though, I must look away now...Happy Belated Birthday!

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  19. I cannot praise Cooks Illustrated enough for their awesomeness in creating fool proof CLASSY recipes. Totally go check them out. I get their online membership that gives me access to every recipe they've ever made. They're the only place I've found countless recipes that I make over and over for my family.

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  20. Oh the chocolate biscuit gateau looks amazing. My husband only really eats chocolate desserts or baking so I'm always looking for new ideas for choclatey things.

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  21. I love your aprons...found your site while searching for a crayon roll pattern or tut, and got sidetracked on this post. I moved from Florida to Georgia, and had trouble with baking even in that little distance. A friend from my new state explained to me that in the US, not all flours are the same. For instance, the Gold Medal company ships flour nationwide. But they ship a DIFFERENT formula of flour to Florida than to Georgia or to New York or California, for that matter. Something about the protein content, blah blah blah...anyway, see if the next visitor you have from the UK can bring flour. Or maybe find some in a specialty shop? Good luck!

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  22. I moved from Australia to the US over 20 years ago and there are still words that get me (catalog vs. catalogue; neighbour vs. neighbor etc.).

    On the baking front - one thing I don't see mentioned in the comments section has to do with measuring spoons. The table and teaspoon size differ UK to US (and AUS to US - I had the same problem as you with my Australian baking recipes), which when you are baking can add up to big issues even though it's a slight difference in size. A recipe calling for a tablespoon of baking soda can yield a very different result when using a US sized tablespoon in an UK written recipe!

    I see another commenter pointed out the self-raising flour vs. regular flour part, so you've probably already looked into that already.

    Hope that helps! Your Choc biscuit gateau looks yummy!! Txs for sharing the recipe : )

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