Fail. Seriously consider attempting something you might not be all that good at. As adults we rarely take risks or put ourselves in positions where we might look Foolish. Take a dance class, try painting, bake a souffle - do something that might not work.
I firmly believe in walking the walk so I decided to tackle a few new recipes this fortnight - sketchy ones that I couldn't quite grasp the food chemistry of. All four recipes involved came from highly lauded internet foodies and if pictures don't lie, then they had great success with them. I won't post links as I'd hate to sully their good name with my incompetence.
Here is Buttermilk Vanilla Cupcakes (I forgot to take a pic of the praline frosting. Sorry):
Look at that sway-back, hollowed out nastiness. Ugh! And they were hard work and expensive too.
These are the Coke Cupcakes with Coke Frosting (forgot to photograph this frosting too - there was a repairman, I was teaching homeschool, the bread timer was announcing it needed punching... photos weren't a priority):
Before I continue, let's discuss flavor. The coke cupcakes were billed to taste like chocolate coke. But, instead, they tasted like watered-down cupcakes with a corn syrup after taste. Ew. The buttermilk vanilla ones were an outrageous sugar bomb and very crumbly. Ick. ( An aside: We were worried from step one about the buttermilk because the house had this horrible animal meets chemical stench as soon as I started cooking them. Turns out I had sat my leather-bound recipe book on an element set to low for over an hour. It was slow-roasting. *shudder* The page protectors are fused together; time to redo my recipes.)
I thought, and thought, and thought some more as quitting just isn't my style. Cake Pops were on my March To-Try list and they required crumbly cake and frosting - BAZINGA!
So I de-papered the mess, and crumbled the few bits that were baked hard enough to stick together:
And with a little effort, candy melts, sprinkles and lollipop sticks; we ended up with these:
Wanna see a close-up:
Yeah, that's some sort of oil that sweats through the cracks - appetizing!
The boys claim they are truffle-like and delicious. I had one bite of each flavor and fearing a sugar coma sat them back on the plate. Not for me.
Fortunately, for "F" Fortnight I made Fancy and Fabulous French Toast to save Face after all that Failure. I added 3/4 tsp of cardamon to my regular bread recipe. When I was forming the loaves, I pressed the dough into rectangles, sprinkled with cinnamon and rolled it up to make swirls. It's delicious and so pretty. I wish I had a picture but I have three boys, one teenaged, so the picture I do have was snatched out from under their fork.
We gilded the lily a bit with fresh warm cinnamon syrup. Delish.
Here's my bread recipe, it works well for whatever flour you prefer. I usually use half fresh-ground wheat and half all-purpose.
Finnish Cardamom Braids or Home Baked Bread
For regular bread, omit the cardamom and skip the italicized steps.
2 TBL yeast (two packages)
1/4 C warm water
2 C warm milk (we use soy milk, vanilla soy if making cinnamon rolls or any sweet breads)
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C softened butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
* 3/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
7-8 C flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, butter, *cardamom, eggs and 3 C of flour.
Beat until smooth.
Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough.
Knead 6-8 minutes.
Place in greased bowl and rise to doubled (about one hour).
Punch down and shape into three loaves.
*If making cardamom braids: Divide dough in half and braid each half.
Cover and rise until doubled (about 45 minutes).
If making cardamon braids: Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with Finnish Sugar (it looks like rock salt - big crystals)
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden.
Brush the tops of the loaves with butter when they are still hot from the oven if you prefer.
I blogged at Gauche Alchemy today, I had the extreme pleasure of interviewing the amazing Melanie Testa. She rocks my socks off with her art quilts and mixed media projects. Wow.