10 Dec

2016: The Year in Sugar and Gluten

I’m far from done with the year’s baking, but I’ll be too busy doing it to take pictures of it for the next little while, so here’s the recap for 2016.

This year, I conquered cinnamon rolls. (The secret is doughnut dough. Shh.)

I gave up trying to make a good chocolate chip cookie out of identifiable ingredients, threw French vanilla pudding mix into the dough, and found a winner. (The secret is tetrasodium pyrophosphate, I guess. Shh.)

The most impressive-looking things were the chocolate meringue torte and the snowflake bread. The torte was a full eight-hour workday, and I’ll never make it again for less than $100 or true love. The snowflake was surprisingly easy, and I immediately started making a list of other things to stuff it with. (That’s one of the things I’m making a lot of for the remainder of the year.)

I learned buttermilk is the secret to lemon curd that holds together, you can fake half-and-half with milk and butter (for cooking, not in your coffee) if you don’t want to drive 20 miles to the nearest grocery store for one ingredient when you get a hankering for coconut cream pie, shortbread is my new favorite pie crust, and flash photography is why my food always looked wet in pictures. (Now it looks dark because this kitchen lighting leaves something to be desired and often blurry because my camera has a reeeeeeally slow shutter when the flash is off.)

That apple-oatmeal cookie picture looks so boss because it was a contest entry and I was trying to be fancy. (I didn’t win despite my food staging. When I made the winning recipes and people said they weren’t up to my usual standards, I gloated. I’m petty like that.)

The only disaster I recall was the S’more Cake, which failed on two fronts. Did you know an unopened box of graham crackers can be not only stale but downright rancid? Now you do. And when I tell you The Only Reason I Own A Hand Mixer Frosting does not belong between cake layers, it’s because the top two layers of that S’more Cake slid off and landed on the floor… not that it was much of a loss in light of the rancid graham frosting on the outside of the cake. I might have oopsed it off the counter myself if it hadn’t jumped.

Oh, and I took two eggs out of the cheesecake I’m not invited anywhere without. Now it puffs less, collapses less, and doesn’t crack. I’ll probably post the basic recipe soon. IT’S NOT THAT HARD.