(drafted 9/25/2014--and now I'm remembering one reason for blog neglect. The program I use to write my posts started losing them--when I told it to post my finished blog, the file disappeared from drafts and never reappeared as a post. I've got a little backlog of drafts that were waiting for me to solve this issue....for now, I'll have to use the Blogger interface.)
I have a sort of a new baking project, which as it has an external driver may be more successful than the last one (to cook everything in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook). Though really, the SKC project has floundered far more on the blogging than on the cooking. This one is in aid of a project of my sister-in-law's, who's the media specialist/librarian at a middle school. She's trying to get the teachers to stop by the library on Friday mornings before classes start for a mini class in some media-related tool, like using Google Docs to make a quiz, or how to tweet, or the use of some of the library equipment. To get the teachers to come by she offers food bribes--generally a good strategy, at least for me. I view this as an opportunity to work through some of the many recipes I amass either in cookbooks I've bought or from blogs (and even the old paper clippings file) without keeping the calories around where I'll consume them.
So I've baked cinnamony muffin tin doughnuts, and a crumb-topped coffeecake with a chocolate cinnamon swirl, and a mini version of the orange swirl buns (close to this) I've been making for decades now. I'm doing most of this on Thursday nights so the results are pretty fresh for Friday morning, which does limit some options. Also limiting is "what's good at room temperature" since re-heating isn't an option. That's had me avoiding things like bacon-cheddar biscuits and other savory biscuit-y things--they'd be edible, sure, but not at their best.
This week's idea was to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (s-i-l is Jewish) and maybe let her share a little Jewish culture. I made my standard whole-wheat challah with dried cherries, and we divided it into 2-2.5 ounce pieces, rolled each into a rope, and made mini spiral/round challahs. There was some dried-cherry loss--they are a little big for the size of dough ropes we made.
I brushed the rolls with an egg wash as usual just before baking, but then brushed them with a little diluted honey about halfway through the baking ("for a sweet New Year"). The nephew wanted some of the haul to take to his school for 'nosh' and wanted apples added as well, so for one batch we chopped a honey crisp apple finely, sprinkled the bits with cinnamon sugar, and rolled those into the spiral of dough.
We'll see how these go over. So far the most reaction I've heard about was for the orange swirl buns, a classic gooey variation on a cinnamon roll. I suspect the teachers run to a very sweet tooth, so the less sweet options may not be as popular.