Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Festivus Baking Update

My poor Kitchenaid has not been as neglected as it may seem. I was afraid that I'd be completely unable to bake for Christmas this year because of our exam schedule. I only had a couple of days between exams and Christmas. I was able to make a few gingerbread muffins however. I seem to find a great delight in over-sized and miniature baked goods, so that's exactly what I made. All in all, I'm not thrilled with the recipe, but the mini-muffins did fit nicely in little Chinese take-out boxes that I'd been holding on to for just such an occasion - two per box. I packaged them all up and decorated the boxes for Christmas, but they didn't really make it to life as gifts. Hershey thought the recipe was wonderful, and helped himself to all of them on Christmas Eve. At least I know that he appreciates my baking.

Then, I made what turned out to be the best pound cake I've ever had. Let's just say that I'll be holding on to that recipe for a bit longer. It was a recipe for brown sugar pound cake, and I made it in loaf pans instead of the round. I also ran out of cake flour after the first, so I used self-rising in the second and omitted the baking powder. And I left the pecans out of the first because I intended to gift it to my great-grandfather - I know he's on a restrictive diet now, but I wasn't sure if pecans were on the OK list. The first turned out beautiful (but I later got a taste of it and didn't think it tasted as amazing as the second).

The second one overflowed the pan and caused us quite a stir - we had to scrape out the drippings that happened before we noticed and put a pan to catch it on the lower rack. There were several mini-fires that I really wish no one had witnessed. It also took about twice as long to finish up, the edges of the crust were downright crispy, and the middle collapsed almost halfway down into the pan. However, that meant that I was definitely not giving it as a gift, so I tasted it. I'm so glad I did. It really was amazing! I just can't figure out if the difference was the flour, or if it relay was just having the toasted pecans. I guess I'll have to have another go at it, completely following the recipe and maybe play a little with it to get the perfect taste and appearance to coincide.