October 11, 2011

7 Days, 7 Baked Goods

You know you might be obsessed with baking when the dessert:day ratio becomes 1:1 like it did for my past seven days. I felt was necessary to justify returning to the kitchen daily with my excuses to make sweet treats for special people.

Phase I: Hospitality House Dinner
On Tuesdays, groups from my (awesome new) church take turns cooking for a family shelter and then sharing the meal at tables family-style with the people there. Can I tell you how excited was when someone who I don't think knows how baking-obsessed I am put me in charge of my dessert? You know, so I could save the world by way of brightening a little spot of people's day with a home-baked confection.

1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Always a crowd pleaser, these guys were gobbled up by kids (and adults too) quickly.

2. Pecan Squares
Not so much the kid favorite, but the kind of bar that whose shortbread-pecan-toffee combo creates a wow factor in that first bite. A family friend once told me that they were "man bait." We'll see how accurate his labeling was if I ever feed them to single boys.

Phase II: Monthly Work Meeting
Always serves as an excuse to bake something appropriate for mid-morning.

3. Apple-Gouda-Oatmeal Snack Cookies
The Kitchn is to blame for this savory snack whom I will definitely be making again. Full post to come soon.

Phase IIIA: Lake Weekend Prep
The best part of the week came in a long-awaited lake retreat with 10 college friends and friends of friends and a baby, which of course called for an array of baked goods. I anticipated the weekend with menu planning and premixing cookie dough break-and-bake style. Because I have to learn to redirect my inner Martha and say with my actions that relationships are supreme over food, I reasoned that the weekend of I could focus less on food prep and more on people this way.

4. Malted Chocolate Cookie Dough
 Converted a friend who didn't think she liked malted things to want to make these colossal, decadent, chocolate-laden cookies. They are the best non-Tollhouse cookie I have found.

5. Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough
Because it was fall and they were requested as a non-chocolate cookie. I went with the recipe from the best food blog ever, Smitten Kitchen (who else can sell prints of their food photos?) and loved how chewy they turned out.

6. Memphis Mafia Bars
The grand finale of lake preparations was special bars based on this doughnut my friend Ellie had in Portland. Full post to come soon. Hint: it involved bananas, chocolate and peanut butter.

Phase IIIB: Lake Weekend, Real-Time
There's a place for bars and cookies you bake in advance and snack on all day, and there's an equally important place for fresh-out-the-oven dessert plated and served at the dinner table as you linger over conversation and drink.

7. Apple Crisp
Marinated pork tenderloin and butternut squash and my favorite autumn spinach salad were on the menu, so an equally fall-appropriate dessert was called for, with homemade vanilla ice cream of course. I recommend recruiting a fastidious peeler/chopper sous chef for this recipe, but yours might not be as cool as mine.

I think the relish-the-moment, don't-work-too-hard part of me took over by this point in the weekend because no photos were taken. Success for life, fail for blog.


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