Tag Archives: fudge

They can’t all be winners…

(Please for the love of all that is holy and delicious, do NOT skip the text & scroll directly to the photos.  It’s so much funnier if you understand where I’m coming from)

Y’all know I’m a good baker.  My cheesecakes never crack; my breads always have a lovely brown crust and airy, perfect center; I can bake 96 snickerdoodles in an evening without breaking a sweat.

HOWEVER (there’s always a however), nobody’s perfect.

Boy-oh-boy, am I ever imperfect.

A co-worker has a birthday is this week.  For each co-worker’s birthday, I bake him or her their favorite item – now that everyone’s gotten a pretty fair idea of my repertoire, I’m getting some special requests.  “I love your chocolate chip cookies, Kate.”  “That coffee cake you brought a few weeks ago was great!”  This guy, though, threw me a curveball:  “I want a turtle cake!”

So I thought about what that might entail, I looked around online for some ideas and inspiration, and last night I took to the kitchen to create a delicious turtle cake.

My vision:  chocolate cake (Johnson family recipe), fudgy chocolate frosting, caramel and pecans drizzled atop.  A veritable vision of gooey deliciousness.

It was doomed from the start.  My cakes didn’t come cleanly out of the pans.  The fudgy frosting (Paula Deen‘s recipe) was a total bust; neither fudgy nor frosting-y.  I used the wrong plate (amateur mistake; I should know better!), one that was tapered toward the center rather than flat at the bottom.  Just about the only thing that went *right* was the caramel topping (caramels + butter + sweetened condensed milk) with a cup of finely chopped hand-picked pecans from Grandma’s property stirred in.

But still I pressed onward, to the point of full assembly.  And when it was done I stood back, took a good look at it, and bellowed…

“JEFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

He ran into the room, came to a full stop, and…laughed hysterically.  It’s just that bad.

Don’t believe me?  See for yourself (Keepin’ it real, yo.):

No, I’m not kidding.  I really wish I was.  I really, REALLY wish I could say “ah-ha! Just kidding!  Here is the real cake!” and unveil a masterpiece of epic proportions.  But I can’t.  That’s it.

Shall we have another angle?

Danger!  Mudslide ahead!  Or, if you squint, Danger! Big Mac ahead!

 

 

Despite Jeff’s insistence (though his tears of laughter) that I should take it to work anyway, I just can’t.  I CAN’T.  No one deserves this for their birthday.  Not my worst enemy, and certainly not a co-worker who I feel neutral-leaning-to-friendly towards.

My in-laws are about to be the proud recipients of the ugliest, delicious-est cake in the history of ugly delicious cakes.  Lucky them.

And me?  I’m going to try again after Thanksgiving.  Think I should tweak things a bit for next time? 😛

I recommend bookmarking this post for the next time you need a good, deep belly laugh.  I know I’m sure going to.

PS>This morning I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip muffins with streusel topping and brought those in instead, then showed my co-workers a picture of what I almost brought them.  We all laughed heartily, and I cried a bit inside.

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Did I say 6:00? I meant two days later…

So, to pick up where I left off on the afternoon of the 24th…

Things got pretty hairy there at the end.  No hairs in the cookies, but a few more grey ones on my head.

The cinnamon rolls were messy to make, so there aren’t really any in-progress shots of that (though all the details you could ever need, are on the recipe’s page).

I was running out of flat surfaces, hardcore.  So I brought in all of our TV trays, and lined the kitchen walls with them:

(I think I caught Roxie mid-blink, there)

I was also running out of trivets and cooling racks, so I made a do with a couple coasters and my oven mitt:

In my harried, frazzled state, that looked like a face, and I found it extremely amusing.  EXTREMELY.  AMUSING.

We were getting to the part where I could’ve really used another pair of hands, as long as that pair of hands would be willing to read my mind, do exactly as I say, and do everything perfectly.  (I don’t think such pair of hands exists, though I bet my mom’s would come pretty close)

(the above photo really downplays the sheer mess on that far counter – I rolled the cinnamon rolls out directly on the counter rather than risk gunking up my breadboard.  Good choice, because butter and sugar and cinnamon splooged EVERYWHERE.  It was such a mess!)

I’d long since stuck my rings and watch on a high shelf to preserve them against the onslaught of icing and cinnamon, but my periodic texting and phone calls throughout the day left my phone in a bit of a state:

(Hey look!  It’s my Keens and my favorite apron, too!)

Can ya see the powdered sugar?

I churned out cinnamon rolls as quickly as I could, and in between tending to those I iced sugar cookies like a madwoman.  One batch of rolls makes 7 pans, of about 7 or 8 rolls each:

They turned out marelously, by the way.  I stuck to the recipe almost exactly.  Here’s one pan before it got its maple glaze:

By about 6:00, I had the last pans of cinnamon rolls in the oven…

and I was still icing cookies.  I knew Jeff would be home at about 6:20, and I wanted to be ready to assembly-line the tins as soon as he walked in the door.

(I drank 6 Diet Cokes that day.  If you look closely, you can probably find a can in ‘most every photo)

Glazed cinnamon rolls:

Sure enough, Jeff walked in the door right at 6:20, and I had the empty tins laid out, ready to set him to work

I handed him the big box of snickerdoodles,and I started divvying up the fudge into each tin.  Then he did the snowballs while I did the lemonade drops, and he did the sugar cookie stars while I did the candy canes…and somehow it all got done.

I even had time to scribble little notes and tuck them into the bottom of each tin:

Tins all assembled, I covered the cinnamon rolls in plastic wrap then laid them on top of each tin, and tied it all up with a pretty bow:

(That one also got a wee little pair of mittens – my original goal was to put a wee little pair of mittens on *every* one, but that had to fall by the wayside).  So I gave the lone pair to Jeff’s cousins, because I’m still trying to make them like me.

From there we dashed off to Jeff’s family holiday dinner, and when we got home I tied up and beautified and photographed the remaining 10 tins (ten tins! tentintentintentin….erm…don’t mind me.)

It was after midnight, and we had to get up at 4am to drive to Kansas City, so I fell into bed exhausted, and vowed that I’ll NEVER do this again.  Never.

Nope, next year I’m going to give myself *3* days to bake

PS>Psst!  The dishes are still waiting!

2:00-ish update

OK, so it’s been a few hours.

The lemonade drops are all done, cooled, and packed away.

After a quick trip to the grocery store, I was ready to start cutting and baking the sugar cookies.

Then I had an “aww heck,why not?” moment and made two double-sized batches of fudge, instead:

The one on the left is plain fudge (with almond bark swirls atop); the one on the right has chopped up almonds in it.

And in my continuing quest to show y’all that I’m really not perfect (uhh….you do think I’m perfect, right?  This quest is necessary, right?), I’ll show you how I broke one of the cardinal rules of baking:

See, for the brownies on the left, I was going to do a similar almond bark swirl atop, only I had a spur-of-the-moment whim to make the swirls red and green.  So I put a few drops of food coloring into my melted almond bark…

You know where this is going, right?  And truthfully, so did I.  I KNEW that it doesn’t work.  I KNEW that almond bark must remain pure in form and essence.

I KNEW that.  But there I was, “dur de dur de dur”, squirting food coloring into my almond bark.

Some people never learn.

Some people do, but are just to damned stupid to remember.

Anyway, moving on…

Here’s the “rolling and cutting” phase of sugar cookie making, in progress:

I was about midway through the process when I took that.

I looooove the smell of cookies baking, but truthfully since I’ve been smelling that nonstop for 3 days, I’ve pretty much stopped noticing it by now.  Sad day.

Meanwhile, despite my half-assed “clean as you go” efforts, my kitchen is becoming an increasingly shocking mess:

I noticed no one offered to come clean it for me.

I’ll remember that, when y’all are wanting to eat some baked goodness.

Just sayin’.

To fit all the sugar cookies on racks, I had to bust out the big guns:

Oh yes it is, the 3-tiered baking rack.

Anybody know where I can buy one that’s bigger, per-sheet?  This one is…I dunno…maybe 12″ x 16″?  I’m wanting one that’s more like the sheet on the left (the candy cane one), only with 3 tiers.

Then, there will be nothing that stands in the way of TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION.

Ahem.

Some people will roll out their dough scraps 3 or even 4 times.  I find that the extra flour worked in with each rolling, as well as the abuse to the dough, really has a negative impact on the finished cookie.  You can taste the difference between a first-roll cookie and a fourth-roll cookie.  So I only roll mine twice.

Plus, that’s more scraps for me to eat.

::burp::

Meanwhile, the finished cookies continue to wait patiently:

Now I’ve got my first batch of cinnamon rolls started (scalded milk is cooling as we speak), and I’m off to frost some sugar cookies!

Will try to check back in before we go to the Hoops family dinner….see ya ’round 6:00!

Morning baking update

Remember when I got married, and practically blogged my way down the aisle?

Remember how y’all made fun of me?

Well, I’m about to do it again…notsomuch with the “getting married” part, but yes with the “blogging when I have sooo many other things to be doing” part.

On Monday night I made 7 batches of snickerdoodles.

Here are 2:

For the first time in my 15+ year career as a Snickerdoodle Baker, they turned out totally screwed up.  My kitchen was having dire (and I mean DIRE) humidity issues and the cookies were totally drying out as they cooled.

1 more batch is in the trash, because it was 1am and I was tired as all get-out, and I forgot to put in both the eggs, and the cream of tartar.  Yes, I know.  But it was 1am.

4 more batches turned out a-ok, happy yum-yum, and are living in here:

(top and bottom containers)

The middle container above, contains 2 batches of my snowball mint-chocolate-chip cookies.  Almost pure butter and chocolate.  ECSTACY.

I made those last night (Tuesday night).

This morning I woke up at 6:30, and made 3 batches of sugar cookie dough, which are living in my covered 9×13, as all my big Tupperwares and mixing bowls are being otherwise utilized:

They’ve been chilling for an hour or so; they’ll be ready to roll out as soon as I am.

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve been running back and forth between the kitchen, where I’ve got 2 batches’ worth of lemonade drops:

(that picture was from about an hour ago; the last batch is about to come out of the oven)

Lemonade drop dough:

OK, I just pulled the last batch out of the oven, and took my camera with me:

95 cookies.  You can see my pots of water boiling in the background (anybody want to tear some sheets up into bandages with me?  Plane some firewood into splints?  Anybody?  Anybody?)

I also grabbed quick shots of the snowballs:

(that’s wax paper separating the layers, not just really weird focus )

And successful snickerdoodles:


Yum.

Y’all have no idea how disheartening it was to screw up snickerdoodles.  I mean, if there’s one recipe I’m famous for, it’s my snickerdoodles.  Remember my family reunion in August?  They wouldn’t let me in the door without ’em.  So for those to not go well, well that was just bizarre.

But anyway, now I’m almost out of butter:

(When is 6 lb of butter not enough?  When you’re baking a bajillionty-dozen cookies!)

…so I’m off to the grocery store.  Might brush my teeth first.  Probably should.

When I get back, I’ll be rolling out the sugar cookies and baking them, and then it’s on to PW’s cinnamon rolls!  I may make a couple batches of fudge, too, if I have the time…

Who will clean my kitchen while I’m gone?

(will try to check in again ’round 2:00 or so.  See ya then!)