Baking Resolutions for 2014


Kenny Speaks

Earlier this week, Michelle of Brown Eyed Baker wrote about her foodie resolutions for the New Year and I was inspired to jot down a few of my own.

  1. Spring for the good stuff. I’m not saying I plan on buying Callebaut chocolate every time a recipe calls for chocolate. I’m just hoping to treat myself a bit here and there when I can.
  2. Write my own recipes. I don’t usually bake with my own recipes. I’ve never had the chance to come up with my own and really want to work on that in the year ahead.
  3. Use some fresh fruit. I rarely use fresh fruit in my baking because it always winds up forgotten in the bottom of the fridge. Also an extract or jam can only come so close to the level of flavor fresh fruit can lend to a dessert.
  4. Stop avoiding failure. I have a list from here to San Diego filled with recipes I’ve passed over out of fear of screwing them up. No more of that! If I don’t fail at it now, I’ll never be able to pull it off and I need to remind myself that I don’t know everything and it’s okay that I don’t.

What are some things you plan to work on in the kitchen this year? Tell me all about it!

 

Growth, Decay, and Transformation

Now, let me just start this off with a two-part apologia: 1. The word decay has no place being on a food blog. I second (and third) guessed my judgement on using the title as is, but it makes sense and you don’t just go around half quoting Walter “Heisenberg” White. 2. There’s quite an embarrassing gap between this post and my last one and any excuse I could make for it would be totally inadequate so therefore, I ask you all to pretend that I have been regularly posting this whole time and don’t question me about it. Rereading this makes me realize that wasn’t much of an apologia, but I’m not about to start apologizing now. Onto the serious (ish) stuff.

I’ve never been very good with words, written or otherwise, so I’ll try to be as coherent and brief as possible. I’ve gone through some changes over the past year, the best and most important of which is my new job. It’s a serious challenge to get up and be at work by four AM but I’ve been doing it every day for the past three months with the exception of perhaps two holidays. I’ve been getting up pre-dawn for months to bake bread. That’s right, I actually wake and bake every day (with a fraction of the fun of actually waking and baking.) Working the way that I do has definitely taken it’s toll, but I can’t think of anywhere else in the world I could be. I ride home on the train (not so) lightly dusted with flour surrounded by people commuting to work. It often feels like I’m on the opposite schedule of the entire world around me and I don’t really mind.

I almost feel at peace.

I say almost because throughout this time I never really had much opportunity to bake for myself. I figure it’s safe to say, since you’re reading this, that you know how wrong it feels when you go too long without baking. It is almost as if a part of your soul is gone. It drains you. So while I am certainly grateful for my job, I am equally grateful for the break from it that allowed me to find myself back in my own kitchen again full force.

I didn’t plan on including a recipe with this post, but I do have a Baking Queue that I will soon set up a separate section for. Yes, I’m calling it a Baking Queue because I am so totally over the whole “Bucket List” thing.

I’m putting in the effort to keep this second wind in my sails not just for myself, but for everyone reading who desparately needs to listen to my culinary wisdom ;)

Much Love,

Kenny

Malty, Nutty, Chewy, Crunchy

I’ve never really been one to follow trends of any kind so for the most part this blog will be showing up late to just about every food trend and may even skip them altogether. I don’t apologise for this because I’m sure there are people like me looking for the next thing (or any other thing.)

Lately the food blog universe seems to be super into thick, chewy, pillowy cookies and I can’t for the life of me understand why. How could anyone possibly choose one of those marshmallow-textured bits of dough over a crispy-edged and almost lacy little thing like this?

Malted Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies

Actual serving size may be 4 times this much.

I’m generally a quiet person and I think I like to rebel against my silent nature by eating as noisily as possible and these cookies make the noisy rebel in me smile. The edges of these cookies crackle like a bowl of Rice Krispies and the texture keeps on rolling once your teeth snap through the delicate slivers of almond dispersed throughout the chewy centers. I am so in love with these cookies I promise you, my fellow cookie contrarians, you will love these cookies as much as I do. Make these cookies and shake a defiant fist in the face of food trends while you eat them. Continue Reading

Baby Cannoli Cake and Reliability

Baby Cannoli Cake

I’m the type of person whose presence is pretty much a given; if you’re expecting me to be somewhere, you can rest assured that I will be. I’m sort of like that go-to recipe you pull out when you’re a little bit fragile after a recipe flop and you just need something you know will turn out right. I am basically your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that my dependable nature is one of my many redeeming qualities, right up there with humility.

In culinary school during our lessons on cake, we had to make what felt like a squillion and one cakes ahead of time to freeze for later. The recipe we used for butter cake came from the book Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen and we affectionately referred to it as The Cake That Never Fails. Since there were about 6 Baking and Pastry classes going at once, there was plenty of desserts floating around and they often wound up being served to other students at lunch and dinner and that meant we were well acquainted with the cake by then. Can’t decide what to have for dessert? Not too sure about the soggy-crusted pie? Grab a slice of The Cake That Never Fails. I know some people aren’t comfortable with using a scale for baking, but believe me when I say it’s worth the trouble. This cake can do no wrong.

Because this recipe yields what is essentially the Little Black Dress of cakes, you can pair it with anything and be soso glad you did. I had a huge cannoli craving so naturally I just had to create a cake-y homage to them. Continue Reading

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars and Social Media Overload

Fruity Pebbles Ganola Bars | Kenny Bakes

So I made these No Bake Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars from Inside BruCrew Life… twice. I had to make them two times because I had about half a box of Fruity Pebbles to use up. I mean what was I supposed to do? Eat them with milk?! I meant to write up a post about them since I loved them so much, but then I got distracted by Twitter… and Tumblr… my second Twitter… my Instagram… and Pinterest also as well. I may have a slight social media addiction, but in the age of the smartphone and tablet, who doesn’t? Yes I know I’m only one person and what could I possibly be saying on more than one Twitter account, but I needed a separate account to contain all my fangirling. And don’t you dare ask me why I need both an Instagram and Pinterest account because those are two completely different photo-centric animals and they complete in totally different ways.

Of course, while spreading all my time out amongst these different sites, something is bound to fall to neglect. Unfortunately for me, it happened to be my newborn baby blog. The poor little thing barely got it’s legs under it before I dashed off to gawk at pictures of celebrities with other celebrities posted by other other celebrities.  I’m back and feeding my baby with some of these super easy, mega tasty granola bars. Continue Reading

Banana Cake and The Art of Simplicity

Banana Layer CakeWhenever I find myself clothes shopping, I wind up aimed towards the clothing that everyone refers to as “Basics.” I will (and often have) purchased the same v-neck tee in every color because to me, nothing could be better than only having to decide what color I want to wear. I only have a handful of pairs of shoes and wear the same low-top black Converse sneakers pretty much every day. Some would say that makes me boring, but I think I’ve found the direct path to happiness through simplicity. Continue Reading