31 March 2012
Last weekend was The 2012 Weekend of Bake What You Feel, and oh boy did I. It's definitely the most I've baked since Christmas, and I pretty much loved every second of it. And even though it really wasn't the goal, I still managed to get a new recipe out of it (forthcoming).
Although nothing was set in stone before waking up on Saturday morning, there were two things I had continued to think about throughout the week: apple pie and banana brownies. The reduced price produce section has been a problem for me the last few weeks and my fridge was starting to look like a shrine to John Chapman. Granted that wasn't the only reason I was thinking of apple pie. Quite frankly, I just felt like it. I haven't had a really good pie since, well, the last time I made one :). Besides, the pie crust dough was prepared and sitting in my freezer, half the battle was already won (I guess the Joes weren't always right). The brownies had come to mind because someone at work mentioned them. As soon as she said it, I could taste them all over again; only I couldn't, which made me sad. I decided to make myself happy :).
However, going to bed Friday night (at a ridiculously early hour, 'cause I'm cool like that) and waking up Saturday morning I remembered that I had malted milk powder in my pantry (I love that I can say that :)), and my head began to sing the song of malted brownie. Sure I already had the bananas defrosting, but the allure of malty chocolate goodness was just too tempting to resist. I gave in. They turned out quite well and I really enjoyed them but I must admit, they had me puzzled at first. I'll post the recipe in the next few days.
After the brownies had come out of the oven I went to work on the pie. I used the same recipe that I have been using for a while except added both granny smith and golden delicious apples. I stacked those apples ridiculously high and the thoughts of my first bites had me salivating. To top the apples I went back to the first crumb top recipe I ever used. The recipe is from way back, long before this blog, when I still hadn't figured out pie crusts. It was awesome then and it's still awesome now. I should have used it for the apple and peach crumbles from a while ago. I think I might post an amendment to those recipes with the new crumb top. Stay tuned!
The pie was fantastic. The flavours were perfect and the crumble was super crunchy and crumbly. Everything was just "oh my god" good. My favourite pie comment was from my brother's girlfriend: "It was, like, phenomenal!" :).
As for those defrosted bananas, some would be used for a banana bread to give to a coworker that was leaving on Wednesday (the same person that mentioned the banana brownies); which left just enough to bake a batch of muffins for Sunday morning breakfast. I woke up early on Sunday, mixed up the dry and the wet ingredients then headed to my parents' place to bake. After filling the muffin tins it occurred to me that there wasn't as much batter as usual. It was at that moment that I realized I had forgotten to add the apple sauce (doh!). Amazing since I read and reread the ingredients as I made the batter. Thankfully I had used a little extra banana and the muffins turned out perfect :).
After breakfast I returned to my place to bake the aforementioned banana bread, but also to start on a batch of sugar cookies for all of my coworkers. Four hours later I was finished, banana bread and nine dozen cookies in hand. I always forget how insanely addictive those cookies are. I think I ate ten of them Sunday afternoon.
Tangent time: A friend at work was telling me about his weekend baking experience with my apple cake. He's not at all a baker and it wasn't a super smooth ride but he got through it with, what looked like, a pretty good cake. However, he mentioned that the cake tasted a bit "nutmeggy." I realized that whenever I use nutmeg I grate it by hand rather than grinding it. This could definitely impact the flavour profile of many of my recipes and may also explain my beliefs that nutmeg needs to be "activated". Sigh. I think I need to go back through all of my existing recipes and make mention of this. As much as I love nutmeg, I can admit that there is such a thing as too much.
So that was my 2012 Weekend of Bake What You feel. It was a lot of baking and a lot of work, but I enjoyed every second of it. I baked everything that I wanted to, even though it wasn't all for me to eat. I hope you had a great weekend of baking too. I'm now looking forward to the marathon that will be baking for Easter, and even more forward to the marathon that will be eating for Easter :).