For a bunch of different reasons, I have been doing a lot of baking lately. Sadly, I have not been doing any more exercising than usual, so I expect soon I'll be jiggling right alongside the Pioneer Woman. But everything I've baked has been so good, I feel like I should share it all.
So first I had some bananas that were turning awfully brown. The Boy Creature only eats them when they're practically still green, and while I do like mine with a few spots, there's a limit. If they're so squishy there's no need to chew, then I think there's really nothing to do but bake them into something. So I made this Heavenly Nutella Banana Bread. Normal banana bread is pretty good, but I'm not a big fan of nuts, and it almost always has nuts in it. I like Nutella much better. So while I did like this bread a lot (it was very tasty, and moist), I think next time I'll use a little more of the Nutella. More Nutella, I think, is generally a good idea anyway.
Then one Saturday, I just felt like baking. I've been in that mood a lot the last month or so. So I made the Warm Chocolate Desserts from this cookbook I love, Easy Comfort Food. It's a great book. I love recipe for their mac & cheese, and the chicken pot pie. I think this was the first dessert I made out of the book, and it was wonderful. I hate to admit it, but there was a shameful period when I was standing at the stove eating the leftover chocolate sauce with a spoon. It was so delicious, I couldn't stop myself. I kept thinking of one of my favorite blogs I've discovered lately, the Shameful Baker. I imagine she's had similar experiences. Eventually I managed to make myself stop, and we had some of the chocolate sauce over Blue Bell Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream the next day.
Anyway, then it was St. Patrick's Day, and I just felt like baking these Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. Technically, mine weren't quite Irish Car Bombs. I left out the whiskey ganache. For one thing, I don't own a cupcake corer, or anything that could conveniently be used in its place. And for another, I was taking these to the office, and I thought three kinds of booze might be a bit inappropriate. Also, I was making these on a Wednesday night, and there's only so much time I'm willing to put into baking in my tiny kitchen, where I only own so many bowls to mix things in. Just the batter and icing was enough for me. Everyone in the office seemed to enjoy them, too.
After that was my friend's baby shower. It was thrown by the dinner club that we're both part of. Everyone in the club either works at the school where I work now, or used to work there. So once a month somebody picks a theme, and we all bring something. For the baby shower, it was sort of a tea party, even though I think only one person ended up drinking tea, since our hostess also made a champagne punch that had strawberries in it. So mostly the day was an excuse to eat a couple of tiny sandwiches, and then a bunch of desserts. I brought Madeleines, and most of the women there were surprised that not only did I know what they were, but that I own a Madeleine pan at twenty-four. What can I say? I like baking, and French things. So I went with Madeleines, and came home with half the plate left, plus a big chunk of chocolate bundt cake, a red velvet cupcake, and nearly an entire linzer tart. Like I said, there were a bunch of desserts.
The week after that was the Boy Creature's birthday, and I knew he liked cupcakes, so I made him some of these Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes. They were also delicious. One of our friends at the office called them crackcakes, and wouldn't let himself go near my office so he wouldn't eat them all. Another coworker called me a regular Betty Crocker. I told them I just find recipes on the internet, and then come up with excuses to make them.
Those cupcakes called for buttermilk, and there's only one other recipe I know and love that uses buttermilk, so I made that next. I have no idea where the recipe originally came from, because Mom just sent it to me written in a greeting card, which I keep tucked in my copy of The Joy of Cooking. They're these little upside-down cake sort of things, where you put fruit, butter and brown sugar in the bottom of ramekins and then pour the buttermilk cake batter over the top. The original recipe called for peaches, but I've used different kinds of berries nearly every time I made them. This time I used raspberries, which was good, but then I smeared Nutella over the top of the cake, and it was ten time better. Again, Nutella is always a good idea.
So that brings us up to this week. When my good friend and I had a discussion of how much we like cake. I mentioned that I was thinking of making more Guinness cake, since I had plenty of it left, and the Bailey's for the icing, too. So I did. This time I made this recipe in a bundt pan, instead of more cupcakes. There is, somehow, still almost half the cake sitting on my counter. I don't know how it's lasting so long, because it's great.
Of course, it might be because there are already more baked things around. I had more bananas about to dissolve in their peels this morning, so I made these banana scones with vanilla glaze. And they're wonderful as well! It was the first time I've made my own scones, and it probably won't be the last.
And after actually putting all that in writing, I think I'll be going to the gym tomorrow. And maybe I'll thrown in a salad.