Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Carrot Cake Cookies

I wish I had time to write some creative life update and background story to these cookies, but unfortunately, I don't.  Here is my life update: I am so busy!  I am taking summer classes, working for the marketing dept, still finishing up my internship, learning to mother a dog, and am getting ready to move. AAAHHH.

To avoid hearing me rant about how stressed I am, here is a cute picture of my dog on a boat!

And here are some cookies!

Carrot Cake Cookies w/ Cream Cheese Icing
Recipe adapted from Quick Feet, Good Eats
Yield: 30 cookies

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baking for a Barbecue

I always have a tough time finding lighter recipes to bake during the warmer months.  No one really wants to eat heavily frosted cakes or dense chocolately treats.  You want something light and slightly sweet.  When I think of summer baking, I always turn to pies and other fruity desserts.

Last Friday night was my first ever "Shabarbecue" (Shabbat barbecue) and I was faced with this same challenge- baking a dessert that would be appropriate to a friendly outdoor BBQ and campfire.  But since we were grilling meat, my dessert had to be dairy-free.  Because I didn't have time to go to the store for Earth Balance or fresh fruits, I had to get creative.  I came up with these amazing treats:

Coconut Apricot Muffins (dairy-free)
Recipe very heavily adapted from New Baking Book
Yield: 1 dozen muffins

Giving Back for Getting Me Through

Sometimes when you are having a difficult time, it can feel like your life is turned completely upside down.  That happened to me this year in my first year of graduate school.  I felt lost and confused and depressed and didn't know what I wanted in my life anymore.

When things feel like that, you need stability and someone to show you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  You don't need someone to tell you that everything will be OK, you need someone that has been there and survived and proven it.  That was the case in my severe depressive episode back in high school, and that was the case this year.  You need a role model.

My role model this year was my amazing fourth year peer supervisor, Lisa.  This girl's kind heartedness and compassion received me every week with open arms, and provided me with a safe space to vent, to ask for advice, and to question.  Lisa was everything I hope to be when I am in her shoes as a fourth year student.  She is not only genuine, but incredibly strong.  I found my strength to continue this year in her.

I simply do not have enough language to thank her for all she's done for me this year.  So, as usual, when words fail me, I show my love and appreciation through baked goods.  This is what I chose to say "thank you" to Lisa:

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes, filled w/ Raspberry Preserves, topped w/ Dark Chocolate Nutella Ganache and Fresh Organic Raspberries
Cake recipe adapted from the Hershey's Black Magic Cake
Yield: slightly over 2 dozen cupcakes

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dulce de... Domestic?

I know you haven't heard from me in a while.  I was in finals, so forgive me for not posting.  I did bake to keep me sane; I just didn't have time to write about it.  Here's what I made:
Black Magic Chocolate Cake, filled w/ Raspberry Preserves, Topped w/ Nutella Mousse and Dark Chocolate
Hazelnut Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Nutella Mousse and Dark Chocolate
For those of you that haven't heard, my boyfriend and I are moving in together in June.  We are going to have completely opposite schedules.  I will be working at a school 8am-3pm, and he will be working 1-9pm.  In order to ensure that we would not be completely lonely, we decided to adopt a dog!

We chose to adopt from the animal shelter back home that I used to volunteer at every Saturday for 6 years.  I called up my honorary little sister that still works there, and asked if they had any apartment-friendly sized dogs available.  She sent me pictures of two, and Jay and I immediately fell in love with 1 1/2 year old beagle.  So the day after I finished my finals, I drove to NY with Jay's sister to pick up the little guy.  Meet Charles P. Nut, aka "Peanut":

He's pretty happy here, but I have found myself becoming increasingly domestic since bringing him home.  I have been on break from classes, so I have sort of been feeling like a stay-at-home mom.  I wake up early to feed and walk him, then take a nap with him, then clean the house, then go for another walk, then read, then cook dinner, then do the dishes, and then wait patiently with Peanut for Jay to come home.  It's been OK, but I think I have definitely realized it gets old pretty quickly.  I am definitely going to be a working mom when I have real kids.

To top off my feeling domestic, I was hired to bake a cheesecake for a coworker's church's mother's day celebration.  They chose a cheesecake I had made before from my portfolio: Felipe's dulce de leche cheesecake.  So in between cleaning the house, yard work, and walking the dog, I rushed around making this cheesecake, and delivered it on my way to a day at the mall with one of my girl friends.

For the recipe, see this post here.  Then drizzle with caramel sauce instead of strawberries.

The clinician that ordered the cake told me that it received rave reviews, and that no one could stop talking about it.  Normally, I am fairly humble about my baked goods, but I have to tell you, this is one damn good cheesecake.  I highly recommend it.

Now my domestic streak is coming to a close, as summer semester begins next week.  In the mean time,   I am going to enjoy my last precious days as a house wife, taking care of this little guy:
Love and cookies,