Sunday, October 28, 2007

Just in time for Halloween

"Holy hand cramps, Batman!"

With Halloween just a few days away, I decided to make some cookies to bring to work. I swear these guys are already spoiled from me bringing them so many goodies lately. Here is an example of how my day goes at work:

"Bring us some biscuits again, Dorothy. I didn't get one last time because T. ate three."

"When are you bringing something again? Cause my birthday is next month, you know."

"Next time bring a red velvet cake. With cream cheese frosting. And a casserole. A casserole would be nice."

It's a good thing I have nothing else better to do with my time and that I really enjoy baking for them. I'm still working out some kinks in the whole cookie making and decorating process, so I promise next time they will be much prettier. Outline first, then flood with icing is definitely the way to go. Because that's not the way I did it, and it shows! We'll see if the cookies are a success on Monday. I used the popular "No Fail Sugar Cookie" recipe found on numerous websites even though I'm always skeptical when a recipe claims to be "no fail" or "best ever." Maybe it's just my oven or whatever, but next time I either need to use different cookie sheets or jack up the oven temperature because my cookies took longer than the 8-10 minutes specified in the recipe. It was more like 12-14 minutes. Oh well, it's all a learning experience for me.

I think I did pretty well for my first attempt, if I say so myself :) And yeah, my ghosts and bats all have the Crazy Eye. On purpose.

Check out this guy:
His leg broke off so I reattached it with some royal icing and put a cast on him. How could you want to eat him now?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Knuckle-deep in chocolate

It's the big 3-0 for my co-worker G. Naturally, this is a cake makin' occasion and I eagerly volunteered to make one of the cakes for his big day. Yes, I said "one of the cakes." He very cleverly got another lady at work to bring a cake as well. She is known and loved by all as the company's cake lady, so it looks like I've got some competition. Hers will be a carrot cake, so as to not steal my thunder. You're darned right you're not bringing another chocolate cake.

Measuring in at 9"x13"x4", this isn't a cake for the weak of heart. It's a diet-busting, tooth-aching, died-and-gone-to-Heaven, where's-my-glass-of-milk? kind of cake. This is the kind of cake that inspires marriage proposals. Initially it was going to be a small round cake, maybe 9" or so, filled with creamy Twinkie-like filling and covered in chocolate ganache. After seeing my fellow lab techs annihilate the batch of biscuits I brought in earlier this week I decided to super-size the cake. How sad would it be if someone couldn't get a piece of birthday cake? (think "Office Space") Go big or go home, right?

I thought it would be kinda cool to Photoshop my pictures to eliminate the clutter I have going on around whatever it is I am snapping a picture of. Well, that only took forever. And it doesn't even look all that great, so don't expect to see more Photoshopped pics. It's at times like these that I remind myself that I need to invest in a good backdrop for my photos. One of those science fair tri-fold boards draped with a contrasting fabric (black or white) is all I need. That might be a good project for this weekend. It'd be a cheap way to really add some professionalism to my photos. You know, for my portfolio.

Tonight's also the first night I realized that I am in a chocolate rut. Why, oh why does everyone insist on requesting a chocolate cake? Someone save me from the monotony!!! Me? I'm a yellow cake/chocolate frosting or a carrot cake kind of gal. Funfetti is good too, if you're in the mood for something festive. If you read my last post you probably saw that I absolutely love Raisin Creme Pies but made chocolate creme pies instead since very few people I know actually like raisins. After all, I don't bake for myself. I do it for the masses. And alas, the people get what the people want.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pie lovers unite!

Mmmm.... pie.

So here in the South we use the term "pie" to describe two distinctly different baked entities. Pie can refer to the dessert that normally comes to mind when the term arises, whether it elicits visions of apple, lemon meringue, or banana cream pie. However, I am proud to be a member of the collective of people who think of something very different when pies are mentioned. For me, pie is a delightful concoction that usually consists of a layer of creme sandwiched between two cake-like disks. I say "cake-like disks" because the texture hovers somewhere between the realm of cake and cookie. The Little Debbie company manufactures a couple of varieties, with the most famous being the Oatmeal Creme Pie and the Raisin Creme Pie. Some might argue that although the famous Fudge Rounds made by the same company is not named as such, it stills falls well within the pie category.

After watching one of my co-workers steadily work through his box of Fudge Rounds every day during our morning break, I remembered how much I loved pies. Or more specifically, Raisin Creme Pies. I made a mental note to put them on the next grocery list, and two boxes later I've ventured into my own attempt at pie-making. I should note that I don't even like "regular" pie because I never eat the crust. Give me apple pie filling anyday and I'll be happy.

So there you have it, homemade chocolate creme pies. Using a devil's food cake mix as the base and a ripped-off version of Hostess creme filling, I've made a delightful little batch of pure joy. I think if I started with a dark chocolate fudge mix I'd come closer to approximating the new Oreo Cakesters. Cakesters? Give it up, Nabisco. You know full well that those little suckers are mini-pies. Biting into the soft yet chewy chocolate outside inevitably causes the creme filling to ooze out the sides--just enough for you to lick and keep going. As it should be. And I know what you're thinking, so don't even say it. These ain't no Oreos, baby. They're PIE.