Everyone at college always asks me, “How do you have all that time to bake?”. Now, I know what they mean when they ask me that, I do bake a lot, but I find this a really frustrating question. To me, this question insinuates that because they are so busy studying and playing sports and whatnot, they don’t have enough free time for things like that.
But, this is false. I study; I study a lot. Ask anyone in my family and they will probably say I study too much. I also figure skate, which takes up 6+ hours of my week.
So this is my answer. Some people love to read. Some people love to do yoga. Some people love to run. I love to bake. No matter how busy we are, we always find time to do whatever it is that we love, and therefore finding time to bake is not a problem for me.
Now to be fair, I know when people ask me this question they mean no harm; in fact it is merely a question, and a fair one too. But to me it is obvious. Baking is my passion, and therefore I will always, always find time for it. And I hope all of you love the fact that I do!
Yesterday was National Chocolate Day. That is a big deal, and it calls for some celebration. I felt like baking, so my first thought was that I would make pumpkin bread since I’ve been meaning to for a while (no worries, it will get made and posted eventually), but then once I remembered that there is NO chocolate in that, I just had to switch to a recipe with chocolate. In come Chocolate Frosted Brownies.
One of my favorite things to do is take regular, simple recipes and jazz them up. So then I thought, what’s better than brownies? Brownies with a rich chocolate frosting that literally melts in your mouth. So good, and yet so simple!
I saw these cookies on Pinterest, and right away they went on my list of things to bake. They are really easy, and best of all, you probably already have all the ingredients on hand. Because, let’s be real, the worst is reading a recipe that is perfect for your current mood and easy to make, but you get to the last ingredients and it says “white chocolate chips” or “heath crunch” or “heavy cream”. Great. That’s just the worst. BUT, that shouldn’t happen with this recipe, yay!
I’ve been trying to stick to the fall theme lately. Things like pumpkin spice and apples pretty much sums it up. These are soft and chewy blondies sandwiched with an apple filling in the middle and a maple glaze on top. The maple glaze is just to die for; it really makes the blondie. The apple filling is also really good because you cook the apples with sugar and cinnamon and butter before cooking them with the blondies. I always think this makes a huge difference. The apples turn out softer and more flavorful.
I am home from college for a couple days for Hamilton’s fall break. Although, some people even just refer to it as long weekend because it is so short (4 days, but traveling home on one). Nevertheless, I am grateful that I live close enough to get to go home for even just a brief time and enjoy spending time with my family. My mom was so excited to see me, and of course I was really excited to see her and my dad and brother too. But also I was so excited to finally see my dog!
I’ve always wanted to try using honey roasted peanuts in a cookie recipe. It sounds so good. I mean, honey roasted peanuts are delicious by themselves, so of course they would be good in a cookie recipe. If you’re wondering where to buy them, they should have them at pretty much every supermarket in the nut aisle with the peanuts. Planters makes them. I however used a Trader Joe’s version, which I find are equally as good as Planters. These cookies are pretty simple. They’re chocolate chip cookies with a little bit of honey in the batter and honey roasted peanuts mixed in. They create this delicious chocolate and peanut butter cookie with the sweet taste of honey. You can even sprinkle sea salt on top if you’d like, I bet that would taste good as a sweet and salty combination.
I’ve never achieved such a perfect texture to a cookie. These cookies are perfectly crisp on the outside, and nice and chewy on the inside. I feel like people say that all the time about their recipes, and then I don’t really find it to be true. They are either completely chewy or completely crips, in my opinion. But not these. That means that both my mom and I can like them. She only likes crisp cookies and I only like soft and chewy cookies. Not only that but the flavor of these cookies is just to die for. Milky chocolate chips with toasted macadamia nuts. And if you’re second-guessing the recipe when you scoop them out and feel like they’re going to spread like pancakes in the oven, because yes they call for MELTED butter, believe me I thought that too and they don’t. They spread perfectly. I don’t know how it happens, really I don’t. In fact science-wise I want to know but am left confused. Nevertheless, all science put aside, these cookies are magical and you should bake them right now.
There’s nothing like the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. I use it all the time in my recipes, and so should you. This is just a classic blondie with peanut butter in the batter and chocolate chips mixed in. The blondies are very rich so I suggest making 16 bars out of this, as opposed to maybe 12. Also, resist the temptation to cut the bars right out of the oven pretty please! I waited a half hour and that worked well enough, although I’ve always found that if you really want clean perfect cuts (like what you see in the pictures), cut them the day after. I did cut them half an hour after taking them out of the oven, I just recut the edges because I have to take pretty pictures for all of you, but since you don’t have that issue half an hour will do.
Another day off, another day of baking. I find it kind of ironic that I use my days off from work, which is where I go to bake all day and get paid, to just bake at home instead and not get paid. I guess that’s when you know you love it? Or maybe it’s an unhealthy obsession? Who knows, but my family doesn’t have a problem with it. They say they do, like stop making so many sweets, but I know they love my cookies :).
Today I had another day off from work, and I had two things I wanted to do. One was to bake, as always. But, the other thing I wanted to do was to take that baked good and take better quality, more professional pictures of it. One of the most essential things to an online baking blog is the photography. I may be the best baker in the world, but since you all aren’t actually eating what I make (maybe some of you are), the only way I can portray that is through my photographs, and therefore I am trying to improve.
It is a long process and takes a lot of practice, so this is just the beginning, but I still think I did better than usual with my pictures today. I also put the camera on complete manual mode, including manual focus. It’s not as scary as I thought it would be. In fact, it’s kinda cool because you have complete control over what your photos are going to look like. So now I am going to be using all natural lighting, which means a slow shutter speed on cloudy days and a high shutter speed on sunny days. So far shutter speed is one of the only things I’ve really started to nail down. I’m still kind of confused as to what aperture even is, but I’ll get there, hopefully. Let me know what you think of my improved (?) pictures!