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Baking Up a Storm!

December 16, 2009

I often find there are 2 kinds of people.  Those who love to cook and those who love to bake.  Well, there are other kinds too.  Some don’t like doing either (THE HORROR!). 

I like cooking because I like the creativity of it.  I like the freedom of throwing things into a pan, tasting, adjusting and making something delicious.  My logic is that if something doesn’t taste right, I can always throw together a bowl of cereal and call it dinner.

I also like baking because I love the math and precision, which is the opposite of cooking.  I like the science behind it.  To me, the fact that a soft dough becomes an amazing treat is so amazing.  I’m a little more by the books when it comes to baking, and get scared to experiment toooo much.  I find when I am stressed or upset, I tend to bake rather than cook.  For some reason the exactness of baking always makes me feel better!

Naturally, since it is holiday time, I have been baking a TON lately!  I love to bake for anyone and everyone, and use any excuse I can to get in the kitchen! 

First, I made some yummy Montana Whoppers!  I decided that these are actually good for you, because they have oats and natural peanut butter!  I threw in M & M’s (Brandeis ones to be exact) and some Reese’s pieces.

DSC03426 DSC03423I also made some brownies, but I can’t share that recipe, because it’s not mine to share!  I think these are the best brownies I have ever made though!  They are rich, fudgy and taste entirely decadent!

 DSC03571 DSC03572 DSC03573 DSC03574 DSC03575  DSC03576

That last picture does not do these justice!

I also made some chocolate chip cookie dough.  Not cookies, just cookie dough.  I heard somewhere that I should “age” my cookie dough in the fridge for a few days before baking. 

DSC03577 I’m not sure that the cookie dough is going to make it another few days.

DSC03578

Finally, I’ve been baking up a ton of sugar cookies whenever I get a chance!  I love sugar cookies, and think they are best homemade 🙂

I’ve tried a bunch of recipes, and found this one from Real Simple to be my favorite.  It’s simple and a big crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for shaping the cookies
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated (the dough will be stiff). Shape into a disk and (unless otherwise specified in an individual recipe) refrigerate, wrapped, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. 
  4. Make cookies according to directions in the 10 Ideas For Sugar Cookie Dough collection. Alternately, make cutout cookies by doing the following: Heat oven to 350° F. On a floured surface, roll out each disk ¼ inch thick. Cut into shapes and place on parchment-lined baking sheets; refrigerate until firm. Sprinkle with decorating sugar, if using, and bake until just beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. DSC03510 DSC03505  DSC03507 DSC03508 DSC03509

What’s your favorite kind of cookie? 

Head over to Iowa Girl Eats for a Food Should Taste Good Giveaway!

Don’t forget about my Annie Chun’s giveaway or my Wusthof knife and scissors giveaway!

Do you prefer cooking or baking?

When baking do you like to make it all from scratch or by the box?

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2009 9:35 am

    What about those who love both, like me?! 🙂 I like to bake from scratch, but I think most boxed cake mixes taste really good!!

  2. December 16, 2009 9:44 am

    It all looks so good. I love to bake, but I admit I can get bored or sidetracked quickly. I like when my husband and I are baking something together since it is a fun way to spend some time together.

  3. December 16, 2009 10:13 am

    AHH everything looks so amazing! when I bake I like having ‘help’ from the box but I always do a little somethign to make it my own!

    I wish I liked baking form scratch better, but I am such a cook>baker!! 🙂

  4. Jessie permalink
    December 16, 2009 10:18 am

    I have always preferred baking in the past, but cooking is quickly growing on my. I have just really started to through dinners together in the past few months with cartain components that I have on hand. Tonight I have some Udon Noodles I want to do something with. Right now I am thinking about udon noodles with chicken and broccoli slaw and of course some kind of sauce. Hmmm.

  5. December 16, 2009 10:30 am

    I think the same way about baking/cooking as you do! 🙂

    I’m a from scratch kind of girl.

  6. December 16, 2009 10:43 am

    Everything looks delicious. I like Real Simple’s recipes too…they’re so simple 🙂

  7. December 16, 2009 10:45 am

    wow those look great!! miss betty crocker!!
    im more of a bake by the box girl..i wish i could say that I love to back from scratch but i never have enough time!

  8. December 16, 2009 11:16 am

    YUM! All those cookies look so delicious! I haven’t made any Christmas cookies/desserts yet & I think now I have to– you’ve given me the inspiration! 🙂

  9. December 16, 2009 12:41 pm

    I used to be a baking girl, but this year I started getting into cooking because, while I made extraordinary desserts, I figured I ought to learn to make the other 95% of my diet taste good 😀

  10. December 16, 2009 1:08 pm

    i love baking…. but i eat too much of it!

    and i love the pound plus from tjs that you used in the brownies-that stuff is the best bang for your buck as far as price/quality go.

  11. December 16, 2009 1:40 pm

    i love the festive cookies! and those whoppers look awesome 🙂

  12. December 16, 2009 2:35 pm

    I’ve always preferred baking… but I like them both. And boxed mixes are just for when I’m feeling lazy. Which happens a lot. 😉

    ❤ ❤

  13. December 16, 2009 6:08 pm

    Glad you enjoyed the Montana Whoppers! I argue that they’re healthy all the time because of the oatmeal. 😉

    Happy Holidays!

  14. December 16, 2009 8:53 pm

    I definitely like cooking better. I am not good at measuring.

  15. December 16, 2009 9:18 pm

    Sprinkles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I WAY prefer cooking. I am a pretty terrible baker, actually. But, when I do bake, I go from scratch 99% of the time. Homemade is the right way! Tastes better!

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