I think being able to whip up something delicious from random ingredients is a useful skill, but it also means I'd be worrying all day about what to make. So lately I've been planning out our weekly meals, and it's pretty much awesome. I'm a little self-conscious about announcing this development, since there's a pretty good possibility it's a little like announcing, "Hey, I just found this great thing: it's called 'the internet'! You should try it!"
Anyway, I started realizing that the qualities that make me a decent, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants cook also make me a kind of terrible baker. Adaptability, substitutions, omissions, speed, throwing things in haphazardly without measuring...none of those really help in baking. In fact, they can ruin things.
But I would like to be a better baker. And I will need a map. Thus, the map for my quest:
How did I choose this book? Randomly.
I'd heard about it on various blogs and decided to go for it. That's it.
I will be making a recipe from this book every week until I've made every one (except the cocktails, unless I figure out a way to make them decent mocktails.) I will be analyzing my execution of the recipe and then sharing my personal assessment of it, but take what I say with a grain of salt; we'll all have different preferences. Due to copyright restrictions, I will not be posting the recipe, but if you really, really want it, you can contact me and I can probably share it with you. That's okay, right?
So, to kick things off, I randomly chose a recipe that wasn't too difficult so I can ease my way into things. Enter
Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl
A yummy coffee cake. The texture was great and the crumb topping was delicious. It was over baked which is my fault. I followed the directions carefully and everything, but my oven is lame, so the lower half is almost 25 degrees hotter than the upper half. I'll be more careful next time. The flavor was...good, not amazing. It was better the next day, though it's naturally not as moist after all that time. I'd been looking forward to the chocolate cinnamon swirl, but it pretty much got lost in everything else. And I even busted out the fancy, high-end cocoa powder I bought for it! I'm thinking maybe next time I'll put just one layer of it in the middle so it's not diluted into two layer, or just double the swirl stuff.
Final assessment: it's worth making again, but it's not something that'll get huge raves.
And, if you're interested, I just found out you can get a pre-packaged mix for this recipe at your local Williams-Sonoma! One of these I'll buy one and give you a comparison.