Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Love and the Art of Baking- recipe inside

I really really really like to bake.
I really really really REALLY hate my kitchen. (not a neccesary comment but I just feel like sharing)

I dont remember when it started. My mom taught me the basics of cooking. Spanish food that is. I think by the time I was 12 or 13 I could assemble a basic spanish meal. Rice, beans, and a meat dish. My mom never really passed me down recipes, it was more of a watching her type thing while I spent countless hours peeling and mashing garlic for Mami's sofrito. (Oh if I had only watched cooking channels back then to learn the easy way to peel garlic.. gah the pain I wouldve saved myself!!!)

Mami wasnt much of a dessert person either. She had her staples... her flan, habichuelas con dulce (Sweet Beans), and her pan de maiz (cornbread, hers was sweet with raisins, and was more for breakfast than a side dish). I know back in the day my mom used to have a stand mixer and a whole bunch of cake decorating accessories, but all I really remember is the bags they used to be in. But I dont remember her loving to bake, or even cook for that matter, she never really tried a lot of new recipes, she cooked because she had a family of 5 to feed. She liked to play hostess and have people over in the summer, but would leave the barbequing to me and my dad.

Anyway what I am trying to 'splain is that I dont know where my love for baking comes from or where it started. All I know is one day I found myself making cookies around 18/19 years old. Then all of a sudden I have spent 3 hours in the kitchen making 14 dozen batches of cookies. And as if that wasnt enough I had actually made myself little logos "Yours Truly" wrapping cookies in cellophane in cute little packages of 12. I made everything from plain sugar cookies to chocolate chip to white chocolate walnut to triple chocolate brownie cookies. I took orders from anyone and everyone at my job. Whatever you asked for I made. Chocolate chips or none, you choose the nuts, oatmeal cookies, done! Hence the name Yours Truly, because everything was custom made to your order, delivered by... yours truly. That was 6 years ago

Then someone gave me the Paula Deen dessert recipe book. And that was the beginning of the end. Pineapple upside down cake, Not-yo-mommas banana pudding pie, cookie bars, red velvet cake. If i had the ingredients, I tried it............ AND THEN... i discovered the Food Network while I was pregnant. World War 3. There is no turning back. Im a junkie.

And my sweet sweet love got me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for my birthday this past November. Quite possibly the best gift ever. I can make bread now?!?!? Oh its DONE... cinnamon bread, wait cinnamon ROLLS!!!!!! ARMAGEDDON, its over.

Baking is like a coloring book. You have to stay inside the lines, but you can pick any color you like. For example... cookies.... basic recipe:
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Cream white sugar and butter together. Add brown sugar. Mix in eggs well. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients well. Add too wet ingredients. Either butter cookie sheets or use parchment paper(this is best). Bake at 325 for 8-10 min, let cool.

Those are the lines. When it says 2 eggs, dont use 1 or 3. When it says teaspoon of powder, its 1 teaspoon of powder. Too much or too little of the main ingredients will throw you off. The way the ingredients are mixed are important too. From experience I have learned that softened butter is important.... if you melt it completely cookies come out too thin. If its straight out of the fridge its really difficult to mix the butter with the sugar and then the other ingredients.

So stay withing the lines, follow the directions, they are there for a reason in baking. However there is still the colors you can pick..... you can leave the recipe like that. Or add 1 cups of chocolate chips, or 1 cups of walnuts, or 1 cup of oatmeal.... or add all three. Or add white chocolate with macadamia nuts. Or oatmeal and raisins. Or add some chocolate powder to the dry ingredients for some extra chocolate. Or add a cup of peanut butter to the regular butter before the sugar. OOOOOOO man... make peanut butter cookies and then before you cool them down push in a Hersheys kiss.... OMG HEAVEN.

There are things you learn a long the way after trial and error, like cookies usually turn out better after you refrigerate the dough for at least 2 or 3 hours. Vanilla is almighty. LOL..... and dont skip the salt.... salt is... the bringer outer of taste. Whether in sweet or savory dishes salt helps to bring out moisture and enhances flavor. (Yay Food Network!!!) Salt doesnt make things salty.... dont skip it, dont underestimate it.

I am throwing a Superbowl shindig next month and of course, I know what I am serving for dessert. Mini cheesecakes (regular & one with oreo crust), cake pops, and football shaped Oreo truffles. The rest of it..... who cares??? But I shall post recipes as i try them...... oooooooh and I ordered necessary items to make Elmo cake pops to practice for Kayla birthday and they should be here by Thursday SOOOOOOO

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