This is the first time I’ve blogged since I was in college. Blogger was the first host that I recall, but I typically hand-coded everything in HTML, as I practiced it extensively in college. I was first introduced to the internet around 1994, when AOL (American Online) was still a new thing. Chat rooms were simply forums broken up into several categories and were filled with a couple dozen folks. The first shorthand terms I remember: “a/s/l/p” (age/sex/location/photo), and…”lol”. I looked forward to hearing, “You’ve got mail!”. I also remember thinking, who needs the internet?
Now that I’ve aged myself, I’ll begin with my recent journey into baking. All I wanted to do was make the blondie that Applebee’s had on their menu. It was usually served with ice cream and a white chocolate sauce, but that was more than I wanted to take on; the bar was enough. I tried Gordon Ramsay’s recipe on YouTube, sans dried cranberries, because I didn’t have any. It turned out to be pretty good, and my family enjoyed it. Within a month, I decided to try Gemma Stafford’s recipe (Bigger Bolder Baking). It was another success, and I’ve stuck with that recipe ever since. I already love to experiment in the kitchen, so I began selecting things to try from her “Best Ever” recipes. I just really enjoyed the whole process, and it makes me think how my favorite restaurant meals and desserts come together. After the blondie, I decided to tackle a cake: a 2-layer red velvet cake with Ermine frosting. While the result was delicious, it took a very long time. The frosting was the best part, as I’ve never had Ermine frosting, but making it was super fun.
I gradually became more adventurous, and attempted a no-bake Oreo cheesecake. My ignorance led me to believe there was something magical about cheesecakes. Honestly, I didn’t even know what the primary ingredient was. I also didn’t know that a pickle was a cucumber when I was in my early twenties. Anyway, I think this was also my first time making a graham cracker crust and chocolate ganache. This dessert was a big hit at home and at some family gatherings.
While these were super yummy, I really wanted to master the chocolate chip cookie. It fits in your hand, is easy to make, and is quite the treat! When I was perhaps a teenager, I was the one who would throw all the ingredients into one bowl, mix away, and throw it into the oven. I didn’t think the sequence of steps made a hill of beans of difference. With this particular recipe, I was surprised how large the cookie dough balls needed to be prior to placing on a baking sheet (1/4c). I can place six to seven on a sheet, and a batch consists of 14-16 cookies.
It turns out, combining the wet and dry ingredients separately, butter temperature, and consistent measuring will yield…consistent results! Once I finally got the hang of it, I decided to put them to the test through neighborhood sales. They’ve been a hit through our local produce co-op, securing some return customers! The word is getting around slowly, but that’s ok. Our family’s quite busy, and I’m happy to cater to my small circle of current customers. I advertise my chocolate chip cookies as my flagship product, as it’s my only product! But, a couple more of my favorite desserts will make it onboard, soon.