Thursday, September 16, 2010

baking bida

So, it's no secret that I like to bake. I always have. In high school my dad used to give me his credit card all the time so that I could go to the store to make a new recipe. I still remember the time I used his alcohol to make some orange-liquor dessert and all the neighbors came over. I'm sure it was not good. But, they all smiled and tried it. I definitely need some brave neighbors now to help me indulge in one of my favorite pastimes. Ben's classmates are getting as many as I can give away :)

In graduate school, baking became something that I could do for myself to break up long hours of reading or writing papers. There is something so therapeutic in preparing good food- but cooking will be for another blog posting- today is about baking. Muffins- a food that can be healthy and comes in its own little wrapper so that it can travel anywhere- are one of my favorite things to make. Which is why it was so exciting when I found my 500 best muffin recipes book. People at school probably got pretty tired of the many muffins I brought in. I really love muffins.

Some of my go-to favorites that I whip up pretty often are oatmeal scones (everyone I know has gotten these from me), chocolate covered pretzels (something Ben likes!), chocolate peanut butter pie, and all kinds of cookies including my favorite- cherry-chocolate chunk (mmm).

Since moving to New Orleans, however, I have been trying out some new desserts. I made a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting and cookie dough hidden inside it. I made mini pumpkin breads with fall scenes on them (pumpkin, leaves, etc.).
pumpkin breads
And after finding Bakerella! online I decided I would try my hand at cakeballs and then cakepops. My first attempt were chocolate inside with chocolate-mint outside and chocolate inside with peanubutter outside. I made these to take to Michigan for a big family reunion. I think they turned out pretty good, but I should probably try something one time first before bringing them to give to others!
my first cake balls
After I made these cake balls and they worked out I moved on to cake pops. In reality, cake pops are easier to make because you can dip them in the candy coating with a stick. Look at my first attempt at cake pops:

cake pops!

Okay, so nothing amazing but they taste pretty darn good. Soon I'm going to try making characters and shapes out of them. I'm just not sure what I should start with. 

Today I realized that my butter pecan cupcakes with caramel icing needed something on top. So, I used candy molds that Michael's arts & crafts stores sell for $1+something to make some shell candy. For my first attempt I used some leftover red candy melts. I'm not completely happy with how they look, but luckily I have some other colors to mess around with. 
shell candies

Then I got crazy and used these molds that are supposed to be for putting candy shapes around pretzel rods. They have been sitting in my pantry for months calling to me. But, I had no pretzel rods. So, I just poured in some leftover candy without the pretzels. hehe. what a mess.
not sure what to do with these

Sorry for no photos of the cupcakes. I haven't gotten around to finishing them yet and it is too warm in my kitchen (i ran the dryer, silly me). So, I'll have to give an update later. 

Tomorrow i'll be using fondant to make little hearts on top of bigger cookie hearts. I will finally get to use the food-pens that I've had in my fridge by writing on the fondant! I'm pretty excited.

My cousin Lauryn usually puts a question at the end of her blog. 
So: What are some of your favorite things to bake?


  1. That all looks and sounds delicious! I love preparing food too. I totally get what you mean about it being therapeutic. I especially love preparing it for other people! I am definitely going to be one of those moms who always has baked goods in the kitchen :)

    I've really enjoyed making apple pies, and I'd love to try to make some different kinds of pies!

  2. Ooh Lauryn, I love making sweet potato pies and I'm glad you made me think of it because that's a sweet that Ben will actually eat. I also love making pumpkin pies- but i've only ever used canned pumpkin because real pumpkin makes me all hivey. Also, I like adding raspberries to my apple pie :)
    I love that we're both making our own pizza at home tonight. Too bad we don't live closer!! i will definitely be that kind of mom...