Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ode to baking from scratch

What a weekend!! I am proud to say that I actually ventured into several new culinary battlegrounds this weekend and emerged, somewhat, unscathed and quite successful! While this is not one of my traditional "baking from the C.I.A. text book" posts, since I did bake from scratch, I felt I should share!

My husband's sister and her spouse were having us over for a grill out on Saturday and I offered to make the dessert (of course)! I spent about an hour combing through my favorite pastry blogs and finally chose my go-to dessert gal Heather's newest post "Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Devil's Food Cake Cheesecake."

Since I spend a considerable amount of time on Heather's blog ogling her tasty creations and I love cookie dough and cheesecake, I decided to take the plunge! I've only recently started making cheesecakes because I'd been afraid of the "water bath" technique forever. I finally braved it over the holidays and actually made several great cheesecakes, so I'm no longer petrified could dive in with confidence.

I did have to make a few modifications, simply because I wasn't able to locate dark unsweetened baking chocolate powder or sorghum molasses in my local grocery store, so I just used regular unsweetened baking chocolate powder and regular molasses. Lucky for me, I don't think it affected the flavor too much!

I started this recipe on Friday night, so I could just make the butter cream and assemble it the next morning. I loved how the egg less cookie dough turned out! I never would have imagined that it could actually taste just like real chocolate chip cookie dough!

The next day, while my son took his morning snooze, I made my very first butter cream!

Now, I've been making and decorating, what I think and I've been told are great cupcakes, (from a mix and a can of frosting) for years! I WILL NEVER AGAIN USE A CANNED FROSTING!! Butter cream is super easy to make, tastes better than canned, and goes into the piping bag really easily! If you've ever loaded a piping bag with icing from the can, it's super heavy and sticky and I've always had to put the bag into the fridge to tighten it up enough to pipe onto a cake or cupcake. With the butter cream, it was so light an fluffy...I was honestly blown away!!!

Once I got everything assembled, this is what I came up with:

I also had quite a bit of butter cream leftover, so I made good use of all the leftover chocolate wafers and made little cookie sandwiches, which I froze and made yummy treats for later!

The cake was yummy! VERY rich, but very yummy! I would probably use Heather's "I love a little cookie dough" option next time I make it and I would slather on more butter cream! I'm now a tried and true member of the butter cream congregation!!!

Thanks so much to Heather at Sprinklebakes for a fantastic recipe!!!

Now for today's baking wasn't much of an excursion at all! I've made banana bread more times than I can count! It's always a fan favorite and doesn't last very long at all around here!

My son LOVES bananas (or nanas, as he calls them, pointing to the banana hook on the counter)! But every now and again I get a bad bunch that goes brown if you look at them cross eyed. Last week I purchased one of those bunches and refused to toss them. Why toss when you can bake?!

So I strapped my son into his chair with some crayons (which he ate the tips off of...yum) and put on a little cooking show for him (which he seemed honestly interested in...gotta love the captive audience)!! The end result was a couple loaves of tasty banana bread which we've been eating at all afternoon!

To those of you (the few, the brave) who log on to read about my baking exploits, fear not! I promise to return soon with the next recipe from the C.I.A baking text book: Knot Rolls Using Soft Roll Dough! FINALLY, something with eggs in it!!!

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