So here's what happened. The Taste Box, which is a high-end, fine-food subscription box asked me if I could create a recipe with their most recent sweet box. Now, the lovely lady I emailed back and forth with was kind enough to call me a 'Baker' so I, feeling very proud of this title (though undeserving) of course, said yes. This kind soul likely did her research and knew full well that my baking skills were lacking, but hey, she was willing to take a chance on me so I decided I was going to tackle this with some serious research. So basically, Pinterest.
If you look at the photo you'll see I was given gorgeous bottles of maple syrup and honey and a chai spice that smells so good I considered creating a signature cocktail with it. (Stay tuned for that). When I typed these three ingredients into Pinterest I found few recipes that used them all so I knew I was going to have to be creative. As you can see below, I went for the yummy warm nuts.
If you've ever spent time in NYC you'll know that there are these magical kiosks all along the streets that sell these amazing warm nuts. (I know I could word that better but where is the fun in that). I decided I could try and recreate those delicious warm nuts (Sorry, I can't help it) with my Taste Box and here's how it all went down:
I poured the above fine maple syrup (3 Tbsp and divine honey (3 Tbsp) and brown sugar (1/3 cup) and granulated sugar (1/3 cup) and two Tbsp of water into a sauce pan on medium/low and stirred all that sugary goodness until it looked like yummy caramel. Then I added a bag of pecans and mixed until the liquid began to thicken and stick to the pecans. Easy right?
I then poured the whole mixture onto some parchment paper to harden. Now a better Baker than me might have realized that as the mixture dried to the pecans it would congeal and make a big sugary mess but I did not forsee that little mishap and spent some time freeing the 'good nuts’ from the sticky mess.
Then, get this, I took some sugar and cinnamon and mixed in some of that amazing chai spice and sprinkled it on top. I’m basically a genius.
Let me tell you this. Those nuts were good. And I don’t know if it was all the high-end ingredients or my mad skill but let’s just say, I could sell those warm nuts on any street in New York (Okay, too far).
if you want to make this stupid pie you'll have to buy the Canadian Living magazine or zoom in on the picture below. You'll likely have better luck because I think we've established I can't make a goddamn pie. Just look at that picture above. That can't be right, can it? I'm throwing it in the oven. I'll be back in 45 to 50 minutes to tell you how it went.
it said to toast the pecans for 8-10 minutes at 350. So I chose 8 minutes and those little fuckers burned. My whole house smells like burned hair or something. So appetizing, I know. I threw them into the pie mixture anyway. Maybe there is enough sugar and booze in there to hide the taste. (Of course there is booze in this pie).
stay tuned for the outcome....
Ok, it's better than I thought. It looks terrible (the first slice always looks like that, right?) but Alex tells me it's good. Maybe I'll try to feed it to a few more people just to be sure. :)
I couldn't resist the T-Rex cookie cutter at Micheal's. T-Rexs are not even my favourite dinosaur.
It occurs to me as I type this that a forty-year old mom shouldn't have a favourite dinosaur.
But FUCK that Noise, I have a top three.
Sugar cookies. Recipe here. Easy, even for me.
Except most of them broke.
What are ya gonna do?
I tried. I don't want to fail. Sure, it provides a laugh or two but I didn't want to spend $40 on ingredients and then fail so I tried really hard, again, to make this stupid pie.
I found it on Pinterest, of course. The website is nice and the baker looks completely capable so I can blame it on no one but myself.
The previous three times I attempted this pie, last Fall, it failed. The caramel sauce was watery and the crust was burned to some degree each and every time. What the hell?
I know baking requires some serious math but surely even I should get it right at least one out of four times.
This is how it went down.
Obviously I didn't make my own pie crust. That's just dumb. Unless you are a pastry chef, you probably can't do it better than Pillsbury. (They didn't pay me to say that, obviously)
I peeled and chopped those pears and I melted butter and brown sugar and white sugar to make the caramel sauce on the stove. I even brushed the crust with egg whites because it said to and I don't why but I did it. It should have worked.
As I placed it in the oven I asked Alex if I should invite some friends over to enjoy some pie and ice cream after supper.
"Why don't we see how it looks first."
He gets me. Baking is hard for me. Like Math or believing in Feng Shui.
Did it finally work out? Did that warm, gooey, caramel pear pie make the house smell amazing and taste decadent.
Nope, that bitch was watery again. I even halved the water that it took to make the caramel sauce on the stove.
I had friends over and they helped me figure out my mistakes. Friends are good that way.
The recipe said to bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. At 30 mins of baking, that dick-head pie was full-on golden brown. I took it out, let it cool and served it.
The result. The caramel was watery, the pears were hard, but the crust was right on.
My friends suggested I cook it for the entire 45 minutes so I threw it back in the oven.
The result. Perfect caramel sauce, some good pears and some seriously bullshit crust.
I'm not giving up on this one. I will make it again.
This is the fucking pie I will die on.
The recipe is here, if you'd like to give it a try. I asked our Facebook followers to suggest some desserts and I'd pick one and give it a go. I went with Funfetti Whoopie Pies and even though they weren't pretty, they were a hit.
Here's how it all went down.
I got all the ingredients I needed at the grocery store and set them out on the counter ready to begin. I then noticed I forget two key ingredients (sugar and parchment paper) and sent my husband to the store to get them.
I mixed up the ingredients for the whoopie pie cookies added a shit load of sprinkles and rolled those little guys up and sent them in the oven to bake for 8 minutes. That's all.
When the timer went off I opened the oven and leaned in without letting some of the heat escape first and singed my eyebrows, again.
While those little cookies cooled I made the icing for the middle and it had two whole sticks of butter in it. That seemed a little excessive but I forgot about it as I added the four and half cups of sugar. Once the icing was done I put it in a large freezer bag and cut a whole in one corner to make it easier to add the filling to the cookies because that's what the lady on the nice baking website said to do.
Below is what they were supposed to look like. What is with these food bloggers and their top-notch photography skills? I am going to have to get better at this. Click on either of the photos below for a proper recipe to make these yummy treats.
Again, if you want a real baker to tell you how to do this right you're going to need to click here. Otherwise, this is how I did it.
Buy some of those white chocolate discs from the Bulk Barn. Buy about half of what you think you need.
Buy oreos. Obviously.
Buy some of those little icing coloring jars (also at Bulk Barn). They are about $2.50 per colour. I bought pink, purple and blue.
Melt the chocolate in 30 second increments in your microwave.
Use a toothpick to dip into the colouring and then swirl the toothpick into the chocolate.
Dip oreos and set on your plate. Done! How easy is that.
I'll be trying this later today. It really doesn't get easier than pouring sugar and maple syrup on warm cheese, but let's just see where I take it.
Before I start, I have a few questions. I guess I'll ask google or my mom, but here they are:
Do i have to remove that weird paper thing that holds the Brie in a circle? Not the wrapper guys, I am not that stunned. You know the paper-feeling thing that might even be made of cheese?
Also, can I bake it on a cookie sheet and then transfer it to a fancy dish (a plate from my cupboard)?
Alright, I am going to get started. I'll be back with pictures and a rating for this recipe.
To be continued.
First of all, this Baked Brie shit takes about twenty minutes to bake so you have to bring the ingredients and make it at the party, so I might save this one for when I am hosting myself. Secondly, there is something called a Brie Baker and our host had one, so that was lucky. Or maybe you all have one, and it's a staple for most kitchens. I don't know.
First thing we did (because yes I asked anyone who happened to be standing in the kitchen to help me make this dish) was argue about whether the weird paper coating needed to be peeled off the brie before I put it in the oven. Guess what? Turns out that shit is just a casing for the cheese and you actually eat it. It's also cheese. Weird, but moving on.
Next we attempted to fit cheese in the brie baker. It didn't want to fit, but with some help we got it in there and threw it on a cookie sheet and into the oven at 325 degrees for twenty minutes.
While the brie was cooking I added a few tablespoons of maple syrup (the real stuff because standards), a few tablespoons of brown sugar, a half teaspoon of cinnamon and a half cup of chopped pecans into a small saucepan and cooked it on low. Once it was looking bubbly I realized I should have probably waited to add the pecans but remember if you want to make this the right way, you'll have to go to a good website like this.
Then I poured all that sugary goodness on the brie (after I took it out of the oven and trust me this is key) and served it with a fresh-ish baguette. It was really fucking hot too, so I carried it down to the bonfire on the cookie sheet with oven mits and those party-goers ate it right up.
I still feel a little guilty about the how much of a mess that must of been to clean-up.
I don't know. I kinda like mine better.
If you try it let us know. We'd love to see your photos.
Below, the three and half cake pops that "turned out" and next to those gems, the photo of what they were supposed to look like. WTF cake pops? Why are you trying to make me feel bad? I consider myself a pretty sophisticated thinker and yet these small balls of cake and candy seem to have mystified me. This is bullshit and I don't like it one bit. I documented our progress as a warning...a cautionary tale, if you will. Don't promise your kids you'll make cake pops with them. Just spend that small fortune on wine (for you, obviously) and candy (also for you) and send those kids outside to play.
This was after I cleaned up most of our mess. The girls were well-behaved and patient, even when I growled at the instructions multiple times. Possibly, they were a little afraid because this little activity was going to be more work than it was worth, and it was written all over my face.
I think the moment I knew that these cake pops were just little sugary assholes sent to ruin my day, was when I tried desperately to mold some cake into one of the little plastic molds that came with the kit. The kids tried equally hard, and produced, what looked like, little turds, and then I found a place in the trash for those stupid fucking molds right next to the frying pan that just wouldn't come clean this morning. Come to think of it, maybe today wasn't the day to test myself with the fabled cake pop?
There were many, many bowls of tiny colourful decorations, because that's what "good" moms do. This bowl, was especially memorable, though, because I dumped it all over the kitchen floor before we even got started. What's left in the dish is what I recovered from the counter. Those other little green bastards are still floating around the kitchen and likely will be until Easter. Instead of using those goddamn molds, I told the kids to roll the cake into little balls with their hands. This was the most successful part of the afternoon. There was even a little hope, at this point, that these little fuckers might actually work out.
And then we attempted to add the coatings and everything went to hell The kids laughed, because they are chill like that, and I waited until they were moved on from our baking activity and threw the contents of the whole counter into the garbage, because FUCK YOU CAKE POPS and your impossibly high standards.
This is how much cake is left over. after our ordeal. What's a mom supposed to do? Throw that innocent cake out with the frying pan and the tiny evil cake molds? No, she's gonna dunk that cake in frosting like a fat oreo in thick, sugary milk and pretend today never happened.
A mom like you
Rather than lament my lack of skill, and my unfortunate desire to bake, I thought I might share my misadventures with you. Am I alone?