Baking Challenge

I love baking. I love mixing up ingredients and tasting the batter. I love hopping impatiently around the oven, wildly sniffing the spiced air, watching the timer tick down to testing-time. I love proudly pulling out something browned and naughty and delicious. About the only thing I don’t love is digging out my roasting-rack-cum-cooling-rack from the bottom of the oven drawer. Infuriating. Ugh.

Recently, a heart-to-heart with my husband resulted in a decision to bake more — at least once a week, in fact — with the promise that he would feed his coworkers so we didn’t totally bomb our Weight Watchers efforts. Sunday became my baking day, and Monday became the day that Matt’s coworkers got a treat.

Perhaps in the future I’ll get my shit together, figure out how to take a decent picture, and post on a more regular basis. For now, here’s a month’s worth of baking.

Week #1: Pear Kuchen, based on a recipe shared by my friend and former boss, Nicole. Ridiculously easy, quite delicious, not very pretty!


Week #2: Raspberry Chocolate Rugelach, from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Super time consuming, totally misshapen, and flipping delicious! I really don’t like fruit (especially raspberries) polluting my chocolate, but these were fantastic. The Boeing engineers approved!


Week #3: A double-dose of cookies! First, so-called Healthy Cookies for a friend who recently started chemotherapy and is trying to eat clean. These had no butter, no flour, and no sugar… and remarkable still tasted pretty decent! Second, for St Patrick’s Day, the in-no-way-Irish Homemade Thin Mints, which were like, really, *REALLY* good, even though I only realized in hindsight that I should have tempered the chocolate… which reminds me that, well, I should probably learn how to temper chocolate.

Week #4: Another double-dose! First, and most spectacularly (with nary a photo to relish), an incredible flourless concoction adorably called the “Tiny but Intense Chocolate” cake, courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, and baked for some dear friends who came over for dinner. This cake necessitated a 6″ cheesecake pan, for which I ventured to a baking store called “Home Cake” in Maple Leaf. This place was for PROS, guys, and looked like a baking-supply-hoarder’s garage. The lady in line in front of me was buying sugar flowers for a cake she was baking for a photoshoot for the cover of her cookbook. Intimidating much?

Second… Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Oatmeal Bars, made with raspberry jam instead, since 1) I had it, and 2) without the tartness, these would be sickly sweet. I’ve never seen something so totally full of fat and sugar while appearing so innocuous! Dangerous, I tell you! These are fantastic, and remind me of a delicious raspberry-crumbly-bar-thing we used to serve at my college cafe. I estimate they were responsible for at least 10 of the 75 pounds I gained in college. I probably shouldn’t make these again.


So… so far, so good… and each week, I look forward to picking a recipe, tying on my cupcake apron, and seeing what happens…



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