Thursday, August 26, 2010
It’s been a fairly long week, well, couple weeks. I’ve had a major life change, which has taken most of my time lately. Not that I haven’t been baking, but I haven’t had time to write. Today I’m coming home from Michigan, where I was visiting my mother a couple days. On the upside (I guess), work has been picking up. It was slow all last week, until Saturday night, when all the crime that was waiting to happen, happened. Oh, and other big news, I made it onto Foodgawker and Tastespotting for the first time EVER a couple weeks ago! I came home and my hits had jumped by the hundreds, and I thought Google Analytics was wrong. Nope, it wasn’t, and I was super duper excited! Now, to keep getting pictures up there.
Before all this stuff happened, though, I visited my dad and stepmom out on the lake. He got an awesome new boat and it was a good couple of days away. My friend Sarah gave me some vegan recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World to try, so I decided that for the lake, s’mores cupcakes would work out. This was my second venture into vegan cupcake-making, the first being for Sarah’s birthday. This was definitely a little bit more difficult. One of the main sweeteners in the cake was molasses, and frankly, I dislike that strong a flavor. More graham cracker crumbs and that was fixed. Vegan buttercream was also an experiment (especially when the vegan shortening misspelled carefully as “carefulyl”). Ultimately, though, they were tasty, and a great addition at camp.
Last week, I had an intense baking/dinner session with Aunt Betty. Three desserts in about three hours, plus meeting a new kitty cat — definitely a highlight! The first was a tray of cheesecake brownies, a request from my friend Jon at work (I love requests — they keep things interesting!). This will be one of the first desserts I didn’t get a picture of because they were gone so quickly at work. They were super easy and from one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen. Maybe I’ll make them again this week. Also on the list was a recipe I heard one morning — or afternoon, however you look at it — when I woke up. Sometimes I leave the Food Network on while I sleep, and Sunny Anderson’s show was on. She had a recipe for apple pound cake, and it looked super tasty. The picture is what apple pound cake looks like after the newsroom has had some :)
The third item was my first stab at macarons, my second try at a baking goal. Aunt Betty and I used actual almonds ground up in a food processor, and we left them sort of chunky. Apparently you have to be careful not to process them too much or you’ll get almond butter. Anyway, French macarons are these almond-based cookies that are basically a meringue, so it’s too humid almost every day in Kansas, except for this one. These were eaten immediately, and oh-so-good.
Now, in Michigan, I tried making them with almond flour, pre-ground and much finer. I don’t think I’ll try making them again any time soon — a bag was $12.50! Anyway, I’m not sure I have the whole egg-white-whipping thing down, so it might be a while before I make lemon meringue pie. Here, I made two varieties — vanilla with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, and chocolate with either maple Swiss meringue buttercream or vanilla buttercream. They’re super yummy, but I’m not sure they’re worth all the effort. At least until I get better at them.
I also wanted to make cupcakes while in Michigan, so I made cookies and cream cupcakes I’ve had my eye on. There’s half an Oreo (with cream) in the bottom, plus a super heavy vanilla batter with coarsely chopped Oreos mixed in. Cream cheese icing and the other Oreo half on top, and we’ve got ourselves a tasty cupcake. Let’s just say, Mom’s got a fridge-full of desserts.
So now, I just need something to look forward to. I’m one of those people who needs a long-term goal, even if that’s my birthday (which is a month and a week away!). I actually will get to go out on a Saturday night – woo hoo! I hope to enjoy some shark attacks (like in this photo from my last bday, with one of my best friends Erin). Beyond that, it’s time to figure out some new things to look forward to.