For the love of baking!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

There is something special about biting into a warm gooey cooking or having an awesome piece of cake with a fresh cup of coffee. Fortunately for me (and even more fortunately for my husband!) I like to bake. I mean really like it as in having visions of friends getting together a baking up a storm just for the fun of it. :) As if knowing what crap was in pre-packaged baked goods wasn't enough incentive, knowing that I can make something better at home pretty much seals the deal that I don't need to sacrifice my health for my sweet tooth.

This week, I had the chance to try an awesome new recipe from Post Punk Kitchen. The Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies are killer good. My expectations were definitely exceeded and I was very happy with how quick they were to whip up! My husband gave the thumbs up right away and we both took some in to work where we got a lot of good feedback. I'll admit, the cookies aren't for everyone because they do pack a lot of kick. But if that's a problem, the recipe could probably be modified to use less or no cayenne pepper at all. Even though I liked the recipe as it was written, I am going to see how it fares with using applesauce instead of oil.

Speaking of applesauce...

I had the opportunity to attend a vegan baking class by Veronica Menin of Peace a' Cake, hosted at Whole Foods. She is a sweetheart and obviously very passionate about making delicious yet healthy goodies. She made an orange chocolate cake on the spot and I will vouch for how tasty it was! The reason "applesauce" led me into this is because she uses applesauce in the recipe instead of oil. And as a vegan, she also wasn't using eggs or butter. I've used applesauce as a sub before, but I was so pleased with the recipe she showed us that I am going to try using it a bit more. Tonight she also introduced me to spelt flour. She explained that she finds it to be lighter for baking and easier on digestion. Sounds reasonable to me! The final eye-opener I had was yacon syrup. I have never heard of it before! It did great in the recipe, Veronica swears by it, and supposedly it is an extremely healthy vegan option. I have some reading to do! We all had samples of the yacon syrup and I can describe it as very similar to molasses...maybe just a little lighter, but with the same kind of depth in flavor. It was just sweet enough and I could see it being used in a lot of ways.

So much goodness going on in baking in just one week! I'm looking forward to experimenting a bit more this weekend.


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