As is the norm, I am scribing this year's baking hits (and misses). It's a fun thing to look back at the year and see review. And now that I have annual goals I write for myself it's good to hold myself accountable for some of the many things I exclaim with excitement that I want to do. This year I got to do a good amount of baking although I went on a bit of a hiatus after my return from my residency. Here are some pics and assessments of my baking this year and also where you can find the recipes. I have to admit the first half of the year was somewhat sparse.
Perish the thought but I did no 'from scratch' baking in January even though it's the month of my birthday. This year I threw a brownies vs. blondies competition and enjoyed many sweets though. :-)
I bought oatmeal via the Target Marketplace brand and decided to try out the recipe for oatmeal cookies on the canister. This was a good recipe for the old school oatmeal cookies you may be used to (sans raisins of course, bleh). They were of the chewy variety and stayed as such for a few days. I brought these in on a really gross, slushy, cold, windy day at work and received heaps of praise. It may have been for the cookies or just because of the weather. Who knows. These things just bring smiles on people's faces.
An original recipe I did for February was coconut chocolate chip blondies! I had coconut and coconut extract from a recipe I tried last year and these things keep well. I decided to try and spice up a blondies recipe for a co-worker who'd gotten another job and they turned out delicious. I used a base blondie recipe from Bon Appetit since it proved to help with the moisture and have more of a slightly dense texture (it helps to melt butter and add the sugar while it's still warm in a sauce pan). Coconut extract is not over powering so it added a nice sweetness with the shredded coconut to the blondies and frankly chocolate can never do wrong so these were a hit with my, now former, co-worker.
Unfortunately more co-workers left my job, and soon I would too. But before they did I made cookies and cream cupcakes courtesy of Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor.
These were a cool experiment in utilizing one baked good in another and in the case of "stacking." By that I mean that there's half an Oreo at the bottom of the cupcake, crushed Oreos in the batter, and crushed Oreos on top of the frosting (as you can see). I used reduced fat Oreos for the first batch I made and people loved them. I mean loved them. I was told "This is the best cupcake I have ever had." And while I cannot take credit for the inventiveness of the recipe at least I can take a bow for the proper execution.
These cupcakes have a lot, but not too much going on. I think the added crunch of the cookie inside it and atop it make it stand out and they look pretty darn tasty I have to say. Oreos are a good cookie to bake with as they don't become soggy when baked (or fried) but retain a somewhat crispy texture that is a nice contrast to moist cake. I may have to play around more with Oreos when I bake.
After the success of the cookies and cream cookie and as a native New Yorker I decided to make a black and white cupcake around the Cake Mix Doctor's recipe.
I liked this cupcake okay, and co-workers enjoyed it enough, but I feel I have to play with the cake mixture more to enhance the moistness. I may add sour cream or pudding in the mixture. I added mini chocolate chip morsels and did chocolate and vanilla frosting a la New York City's Black and White cookie.
While in Wyoming I did some baking. Some fave repeats. But as we often ate meals together many of us residents found that we had extra items left over that we wanted to use. Karen had left over sour cream so I looked up a recipe and found one for sour cream chocolate chip cookies on allrecipes.com.
Wow. Whatever I knew about chocolate chip cookies was obliterated once I tried this recipe and added sour cream in the mix. I am a fan of the cakey type cookie and seek to create more recipes like this so trying this really opened my eyes to the possibilities. Delicious and they stayed moist for days. And as I learned when stale you can nuke it and eat chewy again. Always learning.
That's it for the first half of the year. In part 2 I'll cover July-December which includes gluten-free baking month.
As a side note I was watching ABC's Up Close with Diana Williams this morning and see that places such as The New York City Food Bank are in need of donations. Both monetary and produce-wise. Having been part of this statistic in my youth and being blessed with not currently being afflicted by hunger during this bad economic turn it's great to help those in need while we post about our successes with food.
Please consider donating since as many as 1.5 million New Yorkers are going hungry these days and up to 3 million are on the cusp. Encourage your employer or school or friends & family to donate if you have the ability to do so. And if you are in need of their services definitely contact them. I know I will.
See you in part 2!