Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vegan Orange Doodles

Two things:
  1. I'm on a quest to bake the perfect cookie
  2. I've recently discovered that citrus is my achilles heel of baked goods. 

How do I bake so much and still look reasonably fit? I don't bake with citrus as much as I'd like to... Any other flavor, and I can take one piece/cupcake/cookie/whatever and walk away feeling perfectly satisfied, leaving the rest to tempt my friends, family, and coworkers. However, when there is fresh citrus in the batter, I want to eat handfuls of cookies and I greedily hide the leftover cake (no one from work even saw the Clementine Olive Oil Cake from a few months ago).

To kick off my Perfect Cookie Search, I baked an Orange Snickerdoodle Cookie (an Orangedoodle, if you will), adapting a recipe that yielded one of the best cookies I've had. Last summer, when I was just a wee novice baker, I made a batch of Vegan Lemon Lime Cookies, and was so pleasantly surprised to find that I loved them! They were chewy and flavorful, and everything that I want in a cookie. The question I sought to answer regarding these cookies was whether or not they were replicable with other flavors... for instance, orange.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My 100th Post: Let's have Samoa

Some bakers have an incredible gift for making baking intricate desserts seem like no big feat. My favorite bloggers regularly turn out the most beautifully decorated cakes and cookies, and until I started baking and occasionally decorating myself, I never appreciated how incredibly talented these bloggers truly are.

I've tried with some success to create cakes, cupcakes and cookies that are as beautiful as they are tasty.

I think my most stunning treats have been these Up-Scale Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, Michigan Football Gingerbread Cookies and Passover Pavlova.

All three of these desserts were serious labors of love — each of them took at least a full day to create!

While these time-intensive treats were certainly worth the work, I've found that some of the simplest things I've made are the most favored. For instance, this Birthday Cake Bark took less than an hour total, only required 4 ingredients and has been almost as popular as my more intricate goodies.

In the last year I've spent blogging and baking, I've learned something very important — the greatest successes ALL stem from creativity. Beautiful, ugly, simple, or intricate, all of my most popular blog posts are also the ones I consider the most creative and the ones I've enjoyed the most... and I guess you do too!

Today's Samoa Cupcakes came together in a marathon 2.5 hour baking session after work one day this week, and could not have been accomplished without the help of my roommate!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Easy Frosted Banana Cake Bars

For lack of time Because I'm exhausted, I feel like I've got to just cut to the chase with this one. Bananas are great. They make fabulous desserts. These frosted banana cake bars are no exception.

The bars came together quickly and easily thanks to MY SISTER (enough of a shout out for you, girl?)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Uh-Oreo, I've Christened my Kitchen

It's taken an unreasonably long time to assemble this blog post, but the time has come that I share my incredible discovery.... Homemade Oreos are Awesome!

Upon first moving in to our new apartment, before even buying any furniture, my roommate and I had a mission to fulfill. She shared a genius recipe for homemade Oreos, we bought the few additional ingredients I didn't already have from past shopping trips (shortening, eggs, and powdered sugar) and we mutually agreed that freshly baked Oreo cookies would serve as our perfect first roommate "dinner."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mango Swirl Cheesecake!

I have to say: whoever invented the food processor is a GENIUS! The simple machine can chop, puree, blend, cream and mix…. All in one easy-to-clean bowl!

Previously, I’d always assumed you need a hand mixer or if you’re fancy, a stand mixer, to make cakes and cookies and frosting… basically to make anything that involved the direction “cream together butter and sugar.” As it turns out, a food processor will do this just as well!

I said in my last post that no one ever bakes at the Cape Cod house. Instead, someone (or a few someones) brings an abundance of fruit, snacks, store-bought coffee cake and cookies. Often for dinner, we mix up a salad and grill fish and vegetables or steam lobsters or some combination of all of those. The Cape is NOT a place where one goes hungry.

Since the Cape house has never been the place to bake, it’s never been fully equipped with baking tools — no hand or stand mixer, no muffin pan, no cookie sheet, etc. After the gentlemen went to the store for ingredients, I scoped out the kitchen and decided whatever I chose to make would have to be baked in a 9 x 13 baking dish and mixed by hand
…until my eyes fell on the Cuisinart.

I correctly guessed that a tool that could puree would also be able to whip up butter with sugar. Thus the Mango Swirl Cheesecake Bars I’d imagined earlier in the day were able to become a reality.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Berry Wonderful 4th of July!

This year, as I have many years before, I am celebrating America's Independence Day (plus a few days) at my family's house on Cape Cod. This is a great place to spend the 4th of July because from the upstairs porch, we can watch all of the fireworks up and down the beach — last night, we could simultaneously watch 5 different fireworks displays: 2 to the left, 2 to the right, and one smack dab in front of us!

This house seeps my childhood memories out of every pore: eating lobster dinners at the overfilled kitchen table, playing lincoln logs upstairs in the rec room, piling on top of all of my cousins to take a family photo, and so many more. 

One thing I can safely say I've never done in this house though... bake!