Bake Attack!

I got into a baking kick recently, which is to say I acted on a series of sugar-filled impulses and ended up with a lot of warm, delicious goodies.  Lucky for coworkers, there is a limit to the amount of homemade baked goods one household can consume.

Whoopie Pies

First up, after my delightful reintroduction to whoopie pies, as well as owning a cookbook devoted entirely to whoopie pies AND a whoopie pie pan, I felt it was my duty to try my own.  The endless possible flavor combinations made it overwhelming at first until I realized there was really only one option: chocolate and peanut butter.

These whoopie pies were fantastic!  The chocolate cakes epitomized everything you’d want in a chocolate cake.  The peanut butter filling is mindblowing.  Combined, damn.  I can’t wait to make other flavors.  With that said, I probably won’t use the whoopie pie pan again.  The cakes came out with a weird, football shape that I ended up having to cut off.  But just look at how cute and delicious this is!

whoopie pies complete

Chocolate Chip Cookies

After a strange completely normal urge to make chocolate chip cookies, I pulled up the definitive chocolate chip recipe from Serious Eats, including the 5,300+ word picture-full experiment/analysis/thesis on what makes them the best.  I’ll let you read all about it, but let it be known that browned butter, overnight chilled dough, and sea salt are all in play.

These were devoured.  There’s some serious baking skills on my team at work and few things have been snatched up as quickly as these cookies.  They’re perfectly chewy, full of chocolate chips, deep with browned butter flavor, and exciting with crunchy sea salt.  They don’t joke around.

DSC02568 (Large)

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

And finally, as Evelyn’s company does every year, it was time to come up with an entry for the pumpkin bake-off.  One year she entered pumpkin Twinkies.  This year we were sure she’d dominate with Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes!  The recipe is straightforward but the results are downright impressive.  I didn’t document any of the prep, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before.

The two keys to success here are making your own whipped cream and getting those authentic green straws.  As for the cupcakes themselves, they weren’t really pumpkin-y enough.  Maybe increasing the pumpkin puree in place of some of the oil would do the trick.  As for the bake-off, these still weren’t enough!  We’ll have to dig real deep for next year’s competition.

pumpkin spice latte cupcakes

On Turning 30

Well yesterday I was 29 and today I’m 30.  It’s not a big deal really.  More than anything it provides a good milestone to use for reflection as, many friends have said, it’s time to enter the best decade yet.  If that’s true, it’s going to have a lot to live up to.  In my 20s I…

::big breath::

…graduated from college, moved to DC, got engaged to my best friend, moved to Austin, got married to said best friend, bought a house, had a baby — and those are just the major things.  I also…

::big breath::

…ran 13 marathons, qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon, completed an Ironmanand read all five Game of Thrones books.  So my 30s have some big shoes to fill.  But based on how amazing the last 12 weeks of Wesley’s life have been, I’m pretty sure my 30s won’t have any trouble taking the title of top decade.

Turning 30 is also a great excuse to make an extravagant dinner to celebrate our birthdays!  After a great brunch in the morning, we reasoned that we only turn 30 once and had to go big.

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Sous Vide Short Ribs

Sometimes I get overly appropriately excited and take on a big culinary project, like homemade English muffins or home-ground burgers.  Ev is a great sport and doesn’t even roll her eyes (in front of me).  Recently I came across an amazing website called Chef Steps, which puts together extremely high quality videos and guides for some seriously impressive recipes.   I decided to leverage my recent fascination with sous vide cooking and one of their fantastic videos for sous vide beef short ribs, and an idea was born.

Short Rib on board

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Sous Vide Steak Fajitas

About a year ago I backed a project on Kickstarter for the Sansaire Sous Vide machine.  It was a purchase of passion and took a little convincing to a certain rationally-thinking wife that it was going to be amazing.  It arrived, I tried it out without much fanfare, and put it in the cabinet.  Well I recently got re-excited about it and have had lots of success, so I thought I’d share what came out of our kitchen!

Sous Vide 136

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Waffle Brownies

Some nights after dinner you find yourself with a craving for something more than what the four pints of ice cream in your freezer can offer.  In a moment of sheer brilliance Evelyn simultaneously thought of, searched for, and found a recipe for brownies made in a waffle iron.  So we got to work!

waffle brownie plain

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Magic Chocolate Flan Cake!

While waiting in line at the grocery checkout we chanced upon a copy of “The Best of America’s Test Kitchen” issue full of ATK’s best recipes.  Once home and flipping through the pages, one of the last pages caught my eye: Magic Chocolate Flan Cake.  In true ATK fashion, there was a lot of trial and error and ultimately an explanation of how it works.  But I didn’t read any of it.  I just wanted to start making something called Magic Chocolate Flan Cake!

magic chocolate flan cake slice cross section

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