Monday, July 11, 2011

Je suis retourné

I have returned!
I was away on exam leave followed by a vacation where I was baking too much to pause and record it all down. But here I am now. And I am back with a plan. Yup, a plan for the next few posts which will decide the action in the kitchen. Of course whether I will stick to said plan is another matter altogether. 

But before I get into the future, I feel a quick update is required. I was on a self imposed baking ban till I finished my exams. This ended in the first week of May with a simple chocolate cake. Nothing fancy. What was exciting, though, was the Chocolate Chip Pound Cake I made for someone’s birthday. I am going to consider that my first proper (paid!) baking assignment. 

It’s obvious by now, that I go to the Purple Foodie site quite often. It makes up for all those snazzy baking books that I do not have. More relevant though is the Brownie craze that she sent me into. I began with the ‘Baked’ Brownies. I made these especially for my father who was coming home after a long break. And they were perfect! Just the way I wanted ‘em to be!! A thin crisp crust over a chocolately square made better the next day!  This really sent me on a baking high. I immediately followed this up with the 24 Carat Brownies. These, however brought me back to earth with the monumental failure that they were. 

Soon after, I had to stay away from home for a few days. When I returned, I had a lot to think about. I sought respite from all that emotion and thought in my kitchen. Yet my baking misadventures continued. I attempted the Chocolate Hazelnut Marbled Cake for my mother’s birthday. I followed most of the recipe to the T. Yet I messed up at the marbling stage. Hence, my darling mother had a cake that tasted like Nutella. Not that anybody complained about that! 

In the lull that followed, I tried, unsuccessfully, to make a Hot Chocolate that I really enjoyed. My only respite came in the form of this book. (More on that later!) 

I had read about Dulce De Leche a lot. So when my parents bought me a jar from Brazil, I decided to venture again into the kitchen. I used David Lebovitz’s recipe for Dulce De Leche Brownies. All my misery was washed away and I could bake once again! They were sinfully chocolately with dollops of the creamy DDL. This success led me to scour through his book again for recipes I could use. From there I attempted a Flourless Chocolate Cake for a friend with gluten allergy.

I finally discovered a recipe for Hot Chocolate that makes me understand all the fuss around it. I ventured into the unfamiliar cookie territory only to be surprised at how easy and satisfying they are! I learnt that coarsely chopped chocolate works just as well as normal chocolate chips. I also found that adding a pinch of cinnamon takes it to a new level altogether. A chocolate mint brownie I tried out was a bit of a flop as I didn’t get the After 8 mints that I needed.

All in all, I am very pleased with myself. The vacation was not a total waste of time. Hopefully, in the coming days I will be able to use and share all that I have learnt in the past few weeks. I look forward to executing most of my baking and blogging plan for the month.
I have returned and I hope I stay.

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