Weekend Bake-a-thon!

After spending three days pretty much in bed, I thankfully woke on Friday feeling so much better.  Well, if you didn’t count the searing pain in my lower back.  It was protesting having not been vertical properly for days!

In order to appease my old-person body, I had to spend a lot more time upright.  This discounted the pool.  Also, the heat put that to rest too.  I can’t do heat well after being sedated!

There was only one thing for it… baking!

I love to bake.  I find it quite relaxing.  Even when the recipe is a bit tricky, or the construction of the finished product takes a bit more effort.  There is no stress in a kitchen.  Your brain switches off and you just let the flour and sugar take over.

Some days all it takes is a simple fruit cake to center me.  Other days, I need to make a bit more for the magic to work.  I hadn’t realised how stressed I had been in the run up to doctor’s investigation day until I was in my kitchen. If I had the time, I would have made more!

After Eight Sugar Cookies were my first attempt.  I googled Martha Stewart’s recipe, because she really is a gem for baking.  I first discovered sugar cookies because of one of her magazine’s Christmas specials.  At the time I didn’t have a rolling pin, so substituted it with a bottle of wine!  It worked perfectly well and my offerings at whichever yuletide celebration I was at were devoured in seconds.  The wine rolling pin went with me, and was consumed in celebration of the success of the sugar cookies!

Time to roll them out again!  (Yep, I intentionally punned!)  If you want it, the recipe is here.

All you do to make them into After Eight Sugar Cookies is to put one of those delicious tiny squares of mint chocolate heaven in between two very thin layers of sugar cookie dough, and then press down around the outsides to make sure it’s sealed. Et Voilà!  You have a yummy minty chocolaty sugary crunchy cookie that looks like this….

Then there was cheese scones.  I love scones.  They are not only delicious, but quick and easy to make.  Normally.

My Mum is famous for her light fluffy scones.  Whether they are plain, cheese or fruit, they are perfect every time.  Also, my mother is a walking recipe book.  She holds so many baking recipes in her brain that it is a constant wonder to me.  I am so impressed, and jealous all at the same time.  I figured if I was going to make scones then I should ask her (for the billlionth time) for her recipe.

And that is exactly what I got.  A recipe.  No instructions.  I like instructions.  They make sense.  They make everything work perfectly.  But, I am also a bit prideful after discovering my little sister (who is only 2yrs younger than me so it’s not as huge deal as I am about to make of it) has just piped her first cake.  I am dreadful at piping and never do it.  Also, she has only just decided fairly recently that anything baking sounds like a good plan.  Keeping that in mind, I absolutely was not going to go back to Mum on a message Lil’Sis was included in (thank you Whatsapp for group messaging!), to ask how!

I weighed out the ingredients, lined them up, then switched my brain off and let my hands take over… and it worked!  I remembered that you need to crumb the flour and butter together.  I loved that part.  It must have been ‘my job’ when we were making things together when I was a child.  Then I added the milk and mixed it in with a knife.  Or tried to.  Suddenly things weren’t going to plan.  My dough was swimming.  I was sure it wasn’t meant to look like this.  But then again, I haven’t made scones in years.  I added more flour.  It didn’t help.  I added the cheese.  Nope, that didn’t help either.  I added some more flour.  Nope.  I had a giant bowl of sticky lumpy goo.

Skype with Mother.  A bit like Watch with Mother, only with technology and my sister HOWLING with laughter in the background.  Turns out that Google didn’t calculate the pint to milliliter ratio properly and I had used 5 times the amount of milk necessary.  D’oh!

Entire bowl went in the bin.  Time to start over.  This time it worked.  Look….

This was all I was planning on making.  But I wasn’t done yet.  I hadn’t gotten that urge out of my system.

Next up: Triple chocolate crunch cookies.

This is a recipe that I started using years back, and started off a Toll House recipe.  Over the years I have played with it (e.g.  I now used Cadbury’s drinking chocolate powder in stead of the Toll House powder because a) it tastes better, and b) I haven’t seen theirs in Dubai!), and now it’s my fail safe.  If I want to bake and I want people to like it, then I will go to these.

A girlfriend, who may have had a couple of wines as I was baking them, once described them as “a chocolate orgasm in my mouth”.  Is there a better compliment than that?!  And they are pretty! They look pretty when you’re laying them out ready to put in the oven…

And they look equally as pretty when they come out and are ready to munch…

Sadly, these were my last baking efforts of the day.  I had wanted to make a banana and chocolate chip loaf, but the bananas aren’t even ripe yet, let alone mushy.  Boo.  Also, I had to take my cheese scones to a housewarming party and needed to wash the flour out of my hair before I went!

If you haven’t baked for a while, then give it a shot!  It’s fun, it makes your house smell good, and it makes people have happy tums!!!

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