Saturday, August 21, 2010

Don't Make Me Bake!

“When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste.”
Laiko Bahrs

Did you know that baking and cooking are tremendously different? I didn’t realize this until a few years ago and, even then, had to learn it the hard way. Now I know: I am a cook, not a baker.

Although I consider myself a pretty good cook, I merely aspire to be a baker. This is not to say that I don’t like dessert because I do like it oh-so-much. My hubby has a huge sweet tooth so this past Christmas I gave him “Dessert of the Month” coupons. Each month, he selects the dessert he wants me to make and then I attempt it. He really isn’t choosing difficult things, but it’s amazing how I can really mess up the simple stuff!

Who knew that you could royally mess up Nestle Toll House cookies? I followed the recipe on the package and they fell flat. No, wait. Let me be very clear: they were so flat, spread out, and soft that we used spatulas to scoop them up and eat them. (But you better believe that we still ate every last bite!) I finally traced my mistake back to using 2 tablespoons of soymilk when the recipe called for 2 tablespoons of milk. I guess those Nestle folks meant cow’s milk, and meant it in no uncertain terms. I should have realized this after the “Pudding Incident” when I made two boxes of vanilla pudding with nice cold soymilk…only to find that pudding made with soymilk will never set. Lesson learned. Finally. *sigh*

This past weekend was a success! For his dessert this month, my husband chose Rice Krispie Treats. Simple and classic, they were delicious! They were so good that I made FOUR BATCHES! I froze 2 batches so we can spontaneously enjoy them another day.

How to freeze Rice Krispie Treats:
1. Allow the treats to cool completely.
2. Cut into squares and wrap them individually in plastic wrap OR leave in a large block and wrap the entire thing in plastic wrap. Be sure to get it as airtight as possible!
3. Slip the wrapped treats into a zip-top freezer bag. Zip it 
4. Label the bag with the name of your treats and the date it goes in the freezer.
5. To defrost, simply let them sit at room temperature for a few hours.

Mike’s “Dessert of the Month” for the first half of the year:
• January: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
• February: Ice Cream Cake
• March: Boston Cream Pie
• April: Oreo Truffles
• May: Lime Bars
• June: Rice Krispie Treats

Stay tuned – I’m going to share a few never-fail desserts that I have mastered and hope that you will soon!

Originally published 6/7/10

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