Hey, it’s 2011! I sure haven’t been around much lately. This year I’m going to try to work on that. I’m not going to force anything or stress about deadlines, though. Some weeks and months I just don’t have as much free time or energy and nothing bad will happen if I don’t enter this thing or photograph that. My baking at home is to make me happy. Which makes no sense when you consider how much baking I did in December at home, just to send things to people I miss.
This month’s Mystery Box theme is the color orange. Totally appropriate and delicious. The recipe I decided on could have been made with sweet potato, squash or pumpkin, and since I decided against sweet potato and couldn’t find canned squash in my neighborhood, I went with good old pumpkin. Oh, pumpkin. I do adore you. Especially with spices and chocolate. But not this time.
It’s still September, isn’t it? Barely? Good!
September marks the anniversary of the release of one of my most very favorite books, The Flavor Bible! Last year I did a post about it and this year Karen and Andrew (the authors) were kind/terrifically sweet and generous enough to send me a copy of The Flavor Bible’s companion book, What to Drink with What You Eat, as well as a few bottles of wine to play with. There was a bit of a snafu with the delivering of said book (though the wine showed up quickly, at 9 p.m. from a refrigerated UPS truck…odd) which FedEx decided to send straight back after I wasn’t home to receive it, but Karen and Andrew just arranged to have it sent to me at work and all was well! So that explains why this post is just barely still in the month of September. It was frustrating having the wine around and no book to glean ideas from, though!
Hi! It’s been a while…oops. No cupcake competitions this month. Honestly I just wasn’t feeling the Mystery Box theme (I am not a sentimental person and the things I liked as a kid were pretty boring…ok at one point I had a great idea but it was on the last possible day to enter and I wouldn’t have had enough time to take pictures after making them). And my Cupcake Hero entry did not go as planned, although I now know how to make a sort of addictive Cheeto cream cheese frosting (just ask me if you want THAT recipe). But I’ve done other things, and I am going to share them with you here. You get TWO recipes today, hooray!
I was really excited when I heard about this month’s Mystery Box ingredient. It’s something that I feel is underrated and unfairly mocked, even by food professionals (such a shame). I think it’s lovely and actually just misunderstood.
White chocolate is a unique ingredient, and while dark and milk chocolate have hordes of rabid fans, you’d hear those same hordes echoing horrible sentiments like “I hate white chocolate” and “white chocolate is gross” or even “white chocolate isn’t REAL chocolate.” Lately I’ve taken up the cause and have been stubbornly defending what I know to be a special, delicious ingredient. And it is TOO real chocolate!
However, as with many things, sometimes it takes baby steps to get people to like an ingredient that they’ve completely dismissed. That’s why I was so elated when I learned that you could CARAMELIZE white chocolate to make it extra special!
Well well well. Guess what this month’s Cupcake Hero theme is. Could it be…my recently admitted least favorite berry? Yes, yes it could. But guess what. I remembered a totally awesome uncommon flavor combination that I really enjoy and was able to translate it well into a fittingly assembled cupcake.
Can you guess what it is?
You’d probably guess that’s chocolate cake, but you’d be wrong. There’s not a bit of chocolate anywhere in that cupcake. Think fragrant, roasted, strong, caffeinated…
Recently I thought to myself, while building an apricot-raspberry tart at work, that raspberries were my least favorite berries. Strawberries are sweet and seductive, blueberries (wild ones, anyway) are tiny and tart, blackberries are big and inky and juicy. But raspberries? Really not my thing, unless of course you count one of my favorite summer breakfasts of oatmeal with raspberries, peaches and honey.
However, there are exceptions to every rule, and sometimes even a least favorite something has its place. One good place to stick your raspberries is in this awesome ice cream.