I know, I know, “If you have been baking where are your posts?”, right? It is just tough, I want everything to be perfect and I just need to get it through my thick head that nothing is or ever will be. However, some things come close. Close when you have three kids under 8 and a BIG extended family is just going to have to do.
Like the Cashew Toffee…I did make my Cashew Toffee for Christmas but o boy was that harder than anticipated and it was all my fault. Instead of experimenting with a small batch of toffee to try and make it more P-Nuttle like, I did it with a double batch and ruined it. So off to the store for more butter and cashews. Then instead of making two double batches so I could more easily control everything, I put all my eggs in one basket so to speak and somehow missed my 300° mark and I could tell that I was losing it (I had added more sugar too, to try and make it less greasy. Perhaps that is why it maybe didn’t make it to 300° before breaking up). It was starting to separate and I was starting to panic. I don’t know what made me think to do it, perhaps all my attempts at caramel this year, but I added just a smidge or two of whipping cream and kept stirring till it looked nice again. The effect made it more like an English Toffee, less buttery brittle like, which was fine by me and totally yummy. However, just as I thought “crisis averted” as I was dumping my huge pot of toffee on my sheet pan, I got a sugar burn. Did I have water standing by like they tell you when you are dealing with sugar, no. Will I from now on? Hopefully that question can be answered by the soon to be scar on my right wrist.
The bright spot that day, my sourdough! My sourdough had been giving me problems all year. I still never gave up on it. The same day as the toffee, instead of throwing out some of my starter before feeding it again (I must’ve just had a feeling, really, because until earlier that week I hadn’t had a successful loaf in over a month) I put it into a separate container and fed them both. Later that night, I went for three loaves and they all came out beautifully! Christmas presents! I did it again the next day for more Christmas presents. The only thing I can think of that I did differently is that I used some unbleached flour to feed it. I found a small bag at the 99¢ store. I had seen some sourdough recipes call for it and I never needed to use it last year (I still miss that darn starter), I figured that for 99¢ I would give it a whirl and see if that would do the trick. It sure seemed to. I can’t wait till vacation is over because I am looking forward to making my weekly sourdough on Monday mornings again.
I did come out of the holidays with some great recipes. For Angela’s school party, I made these really interesting cookies that I will share with you soon. I actually didn’t think they would go over well, but I heard the kids couldn’t get enough of them and all of us sure liked them. I made three cakes for Christmas because we were celebrating three birthdays: my brother, my cousin, and baby Jesus of course. None of which I technically got to eat because we didn’t have dinner with my family but I mean, I baked them, I pretty much knew how they tasted. For my brother it was a Cookies and Cream cake which I heard was a little on the sweet side and I probably should have made it with just chocolate cake instead of cookies and cream cake, that probably would have helped. However, I came out of that with a whole new buttercream recipe and technique which I will share with you soon. I loved it and have never had a more whipped creamier buttercream. For my cousin, I made a chocolate cake with strawberry cream cheese frosting. I have to be honest, I am not a fan of cream cheese frosting so I cut down on that a bit and switched it out for some whipped cream and there is a secret ingredient in this frosting which just boggled my mind. I will make this frosting again and share. The cake was awesome, so moist! However for me as the baker of it, that made it a bit temperamental and I had to do it twice (it could be because the recipe was for a three layer 8 inch cake and I made some cupcakes and was going for just one 8 inch cake). I am still searching for the perfect chocolate cake. For Jesus, I just made a vanilla bundt with a chocolate glaze. I heard this one was too sweet and that was my fault, I made the glaze more sweet than the recipe called for. I was making it as if I was going to eat it, instead of how it was supposed to be and how I know my family would like it. I also came upon a really good apple cake recipe that would have been great if I hadn’t added so many apples. The recipe called for 3 apples. Well, I had some BIG apples. It just made it impossible for it to cook in the middle, although you could tell that the cake itself was lovely and the outsides looked AMAZING! It was just a nice little cake. I am going back to that one and will let you know the exact amount of apples, in cups.
So no recipes today. I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t been sitting on my hands. I do have things I want to share I just want to do it in the best way possible. Not perfect, but close. My next post is my son’s 3rd birthday cake which will have that new buttercream technique I told you about.
My GeekyLink this week is in regards to Doctor Who. The Christmas special was good. Nothing too great but not awful that is for sure. Perhaps they make us wait so long so no matter how it is, we think it is good. My one qualm is that (“spoiler alert”) the dad lived. I mean I know it is a Christmas special and all but lately there haven’t been many deaths on Doctor Who. I mean there used to be so many references about how many deaths he was responsible for and some we would even see, some minor side character that was there for one episode or something. Which is why this headline distresses me, Doctor Who’s Amy Pond set for “heartbreaking” exit. I love Rory till the end of 2000 years and Amy is OK too. I am ready to move on in companions, though. In fact, I wouldn’t be sad if they left pretty much at the beginning of the new season. However, I am wondering if the lack of peripheral deaths on Doctor Who will make them want to kill off one or both of the current companions and that distresses me. I can deal with a parallel universe like Rose or just leaving like Martha (I thought they did but apparently not) but please no deaths or no Donna heartbreakers. I hope the “heartbreaking” they are speaking of is just the fact that they are leaving and not the way they will leave, but I sincerely doubt it.
P.S. Happy New Year!