This blog is mostly about baking, but in likelihood I will probably end up talking about whatever happens to be on my hungry mind. Following a series of events unrelated to baking that eventually led me to a friend’s friend asking me to bake her cupcakes for her engagement party, I find myself here, searching the internet for recipes I can tweak, new things to learn and try. The next thing I know, I’m baking several times a week, always recruiting “guinea pigs” among my friends who would be willing to eat the results — a great cupcake is a terrible thing to waste!
Having been raised by a mother who LOVED to bake, I am quite pleased to discover that I had, after all, inherited my mother’s baking gene. Baking reminds me of some of my childhood days spent watching her in the kitchen, baking the next thing she happened to think of just because she was “bored.” One day I aim to learn how to make her coveted cinnamon rolls — coveted because she rarely makes them these days and when she does, it is a very special time indeed. She promises to teach me the recipe and techniques she uses one day, when I finally have my own KitchenAid stand mixer. When I finally own one, then I’ll feel like a true, hard-core baker. Until then, I’ll be in the junior leagues.
All this intro stuff being said…
Today I made brunch for a friend and the menu included Banana Stuffed French Toast (a recipe I picked up from watching the Food Network’s Down Home With the Neelys and for dessert, a fruit tart (recipe also courtesy of foodtv.com, à la Paula Deen). I’m happy to report that the BSFT was a success, which is not bad considering it was the first time I had made it. I substituted challah bread for the French bread called for in the recipe, tweaked the rum extract amount just a little bit and added vanilla extract when it came to the batter. I also had to bake for 30 minutes instead of the 25 minutes instructed in the recipe (maybe because I used a different bread?) Finally, I drizzled some melted Nutella (double boiler method, with butter) and dusted it with powdered sugar.
As for the fruit tart, I pretty much followed the recipe except for the glaze, which I excluded, opting instead for a clear gelatin glaze (followed the instructions on the packet of unflavored gelatin). I made the mistake of adding some of the gelatin mixture to the filling, which made it a little thinner than I would have hoped (I added gelatin to the filling hoping it would hold it together a little better). Next time, I won’t be adding gelatin to the filling and just see how that goes.
Having recently returned from Maui, I am inspired to experiment with macadamia nuts in my baking next. I had these great macadamia nut mini-tarts at a luau and now wish to re-create them… In the meantime, some chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies might also be a good idea.
Recipes from this post: