Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let's just put it out there-I hate chocolate chip cookies. I hate eating them, I hate the way they smell, I hate making them. I just hate them.

Everyone has they're own particular idea of how the cookies should be-soft, crunchy, crunchy outside, soft inside. So for years I wouldn't make them, because it stressed me out thinking that everyone would hate them-and what kind of baker are you if you can't make good chocolate chip cookies?!

Well I still don't feel like I can make good ones, I still hate making them, but the difference? Someone pays me to make them. That's right, I have literally been comissioned with cash money for make chocolate chip cookies. Yesterday was the second time I made them for pay, and I have three more  times coming up in the next 6 weeks. It's unreal! I always think people won't pay for something they can easily make themselves, but apparently that's just not the case. Sometimes ease outweighs the cost of having them made.

I've decided not to spend my time rewriting recipes from other blogs that I can easily just link to, but I will give a few pointers, or tips that I follow.

    • Use good quality chocolate. It doesn't have to be something hand made in Incan Mexico that's only available online two weeks every year. I just mean, don't use Nestle. I stick with Ghiradelli Bittersweet with 60% cacoa. It's easily purchasable just about everywhere, and it's good quality. Valrhona is also a good brand, but I don't have anywhere Whole Foods near me.
    • Be organized. One of the two keys of this recipe that divides it from others is the resting period on the dough, and the salt sprinkle. So plan ahead when you know you'll need them, and make them 24-36 hours ahead of time and let the dough sit in your fridge until you're ready.
    • Salt! It sounds gross and counter-productive, but sweet and salty is the best combination ever. That little extra sprinkle of sea salt makes all the difference!
So there it is. The tricks of the trade using the New York Times recipe they published a few years back. One batch makes about 3 dozen medium/large cookies.

To be honest, like I said about hating them and all, I'm not totally in love with the final product. I always take them out earlier than suggested and still end up with cookies that are crunchier than I would prefer. But the women paying me likes this recipe, so it's staying around for now. But in the future, I think the three tips above, used on a different base recipe will kick them up a notch!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Week Recap in Pictures

I didn't have anything to say, and haven't baked anything of note in a while, so here's a quick recap of what I've been doing lately!

Spent a delightful day off with coffee, a cupcake, and the Doctor.

I stole some flowers and greenery from the front yard.

Then I made them into this bouquet to bring to the cemetery.

This creepy cat watched me...

I experimented with the clothes already in my closet.

As a still fat, but formerly fatter chick, I'm just beginning to be comfortable in my skin, and trying to figure out if I have a sense of style at all. I spent years throwing on jeans and men shaped t-shirts in order to hide away, so I'm not sure what I can/can't/want to wear now. It's taking lots of experimentation, but I've always liked cute clothes on others, so now's my chance to have fun with it. It's definitely hit and miss though. I don't love the above outfit. But...I bought a belt!! And that's changing everything!

This is not a proper May outfit, two shirts and a sweater, and cuffed jeans. But I got to wear sandals and sunglasses, so I just have to be okay with that until I move, I guess!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Up, up and awaaaay!

The first thing that comes to mind when I think "National Geographic" is boxes in our old shed filled with yellow trimmed, out-dated magazines. And of course they all had bizarre, exotic pictures on the front. But they're slowly but surely recreating their image in my mind. I mean, going by NatGeo now? Working on being relevant, and hoping people will realize they're so much more than old magazines...

It's working. Look at what they did-they literally built and flew a house, "UP" style! I love it, how fun and adorable.

It makes me believe that all the cartoon movies of my childhood could be real! That's a NatGeo I could get behind, haha!

Speaking of making things real...and also incredibly adorable, one couple did their very own "UP" engagement photo shoot.

Isn't it just too precious for words? You just have to check it out ourself!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Strawberry Stew Pie

It was gorgeous and sunny here all weekend (though cold), but I had to endure working in the cold, dark shop both days. Now of course on my day off, it's dark and rainy again. Just in time for me to enjoy day! So instead of my planned trail walk, I'm spending my morning with piping hot coffee, some BBC shows, and a new knitting project-guess I can't complain about that!! In my downtime, I figured I'd share my fabulous flop of an Easter dessert!

I was scheduled to work this Easter, and was going to miss my extended family's dinner get together. Luckily, though, my bosses decided we could close that day, and I was called upon to bring dessert for our family get-together.

I instantly thought of making cupcakes with Cadbury eggs baked inside, and a vanilla buttercream and caramel drizzle to mimic the Cadbury flavors. It just sounds like a toothache in the making! However when I went to buy the eggs, I was not prepared to pay $6 just for the candy needed to make a dozen cupcakes. So I was forced to wrack my brain for something I could make, and know the ingredients off hand while I stood in the grocery store.

Nothing....nothing...mmm those strawberries on sale sure look fantastic. Still nothing...and then! I remembered seeing a picture of the most delicious looking strawberry pie on another blog, and I knew that was the way to go!

Ready to go, housewife style with my skirt apron over my Easter dress!

The next day I got home from church an hour and a half before I had to leave to drive North, so I was forced to use roll out pre-made pie crust from the grocery store. The pie itself was a cinch to put together, and I used a recipe that didn't add extra sugar (by using sugar-free preserves), and I was out the door in no time!

I have proof that it looked normal and delicious at one point!

 And then...disaster...

An ill-timed metered freeway ramp forced me to slam on my brakes and the pie was propelled right off the seat of my car, and a third of it sslid right off the edge of the pan and onto my floor. Strawberries everywhere!!

At these point in my life, I'm so used to the Murphy's Law being the story of all that I do, that most of the time (okay maybe 50/50), I'm able to just laugh it off and keep going.

I had to get a photo-op in with my masterpiece!

The intact 2/3 of the pie still went proudly into dinner with me, and people literally took spoons to it, and I was left with nothing to take home that night!

By the end of the night, my pie plate was wiped clean. Disaster or not, this pie is a hit!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scarf love!

I made a scarf!! And it's mustard, too!

My mom got me a small roll of yarn and some knitting needles for Christmas, and while my family was up here over Christmas break, she taught me how to knit. At first, I was on a roll. I knitted my way through my practice bit, and my small roll in no time. Then I grabbed some yarn and started a scarf and was flying through.

But then came time to make a Texas washcloth for the Name Twin. It was cute and simple and done in no time.

Totally stole this from her blog since I apparently did take a picture!

But sadly the second I put my scarf down, I lost all motivation as well. It took we 3 and
 a half months to finally power through it and be done! So I guess all I have left to do now is start my Christmas presents!

I linked this post up with the party going on at Today's Creative Blog. Go check it out!