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I love testing out low fat recipes on my boyfriend.
I leave a plate of goodies casually out in the kitchen, waiting for him to come home from work. He sees them, takes a bite, and I wait, with a kind of sick experimental glee, to see whatever reaction is emerging. Sometimes he detects something is missing, sometimes he's totally fooled. I am amused either way.
These cookies are an example of him accepting the low fat content with no complaints. They're fudgey yet light, totally dunkable for milk, and the glaze adds just the right extra hint of chocolate. And not to mention the whole "less than 1 gram of fat per cookie" thing...
A combination of repetition, stress, and some personal things that don't have a space in these pages.
So what's the answer? Getting my ass into the kitchen and creating something.
Often I find myself wishing I could draw, or even just doodle to pass the time and get out thoughts in a way that seems less like work. (When you're a professional writer, sometimes you need another outlet).
But I'm useless when it comes to art, so I stick with the type you can eat instead of draw.
These cookies are one of my favourite recent creations, baked and decorated to look like little mini donuts.
How cheerful, non? I love a little touch of whimsy.
There's something so perfectly nostalgic about a Bundt cake.
Like knitted doilies and swimming caps. Like silverware and fine china cabinets.
All sort of timeless in their own way, but still distinctly linked to an era they can never fully escape.
Bundt cakes remind me of grandmas. Of childhood disappointment over frosting to cake ratio. And of lukewarm tea, cooled just enough so when I inevitably spilled it in my lap, we could all laugh it off and carry on just the same.
I can totally make healthy things sometimes, I swear.
I originally saw these cars a month or so ago on Pinterest, but I can't find the original link, so if you know who made them, please let me know.
I decided to recreate them with some instructions so you can make them, too. The boy was thrilled to see this little guy waiting for him after school, and your [insert loved one] would be equally thrilled. Plus they're perfect for year-end school parties if you don't want to get the little ones hyped up on sugar!
Can we just establish that? Because I feel like I don't talk about it enough here, and I know it's super cool to not have a TV, or cable, and pretend you don't watch it and all, but I do. Oh, I do.
Not only is the programming increasingly more innovative and exciting than movies (especially when it comes to roles for women -- ahem) but on a significantly less high-brow note, I love being able to yell at pretend people doing pretend things while hanging out with my boyfriend. What can I say? I love stories, whether they come on my kindle, a secret whispered at a party, or a carefully crafted plot on the small screen. No TV or pop culture shame here.
And no snack shame either, because when you're in the middle of marathoning Parks and Rec and Netflix starts its countdown to the next episode and you realize that your chip bag is empty, you have to act fast.
I developed this recipe to be so quick you can make it in a commercial break, or for you non-TV watchers, a coffee break from crafts or something.
This recipe makes about 2 cookies, but it can be easily scaled up to make more. Seriously -- I've made at least a dozen following the Rule of Just Adding More. If you want more variety, you can always sub in some nuts, coconut, dried fruit, cocoa nibs, sprinkles, or whatever your heart desires.
Now, if you want to chat TV, what are you currently watching? We're into The Voice, Hart of Dixie, Parks and Rec, New Girl, About a Boy, and we're eyeing Scandal.
When it comes to baking, I tend to embrace it all. The good. The bad. The ugly, yet delicious.
Just like yesterday when I made this jelly roll. It’s hideous, non? Staring down at its broken, squishy remains, all I could do was laugh and remember that, when it comes down to it, dessert tastes just as good mashed together as it does when it's beautiful and on display.
Because the end of the day, when my boyfriend and I sat down to watch a few episodes of About a Boy and Parks and Rec (obsessed!), neither of us cared that we were eating a hideous monstrosity of a jelly roll. It was just awesome to be together, sharing something tasty.
That being said, sometimes baking disasters aren't that fun, and today I’ll be focusing on one of the most common complaints I hear: The icing is too sweet!
I’m not going to talk about how you can avoid this in the first place by slowly adding sugar and tasting along the way. Because if you’re at this point, it’s a little too late for should haves and that would make me a mega jerk. So, onward with some real solutions.
I usually remedy overly sweet icing by just adding more butter and cream if it’s a buttercream frosting. But for those of you who do not have nut allergies, there’s a secret weapon: almond extract. Unlike vanilla, almond extract
can cut through sweetness and smooth it all out. Start by adding 1/2 teaspoon at a time, and work your way up from there.
Please don’t forget about your secret ingredient if someone asks if there’s nuts in the icing, because an ice cream shop did this to me once and I did not enjoy the wheezing and hives.
Alternately, you can add an acid or some salt. Lemon juice, or even pineapple juice if you have it on hand, works well. Just like the almond extract, start with a small amount and adjust to taste. A pinch of salt will do the trick, too, to put things back on track.
I'm doing a few more posts in my Oh, #$%!&!!! series, so let me know your common baking mistakes (or biggest baking fears) and we can tackle them together!
Next up: what to do when your cake flops.
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission to fund more baking stuff. Woohoo!
My boyfriend calls these "grandma cookies", which I prefer to take as a compliment because grandmas make the most kick ass cookies.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandma that lives here in Vancouver. Her stories were better than books or TV, whether she was talking about growing up in a haunted house on Commercial Drive (true story!), or an epic tale of rats taking over a pirate ship. Little me would plead to hear the same stories over and over again, and my grandma would break out in a sweat trying to remember what she had spun. But she'd be back at it, coming up with something even better the second time.
These days, my favourite stories are the gossipy ones from her old people home.
I remember eating these cookies growing up and, obviously, licking all the jam out of the middle like it was my job. These cookies hold the same awesome memories, and I love revisiting all those moments with this spruced up extra quick version of peanut butter and jam thumbprint cookies.
The best part? Well aside from being delicious, they only take 15 minutes to make, and are gluten free, so everyone wins!