Friday, February 11, 2011

The Lesson of Valentine's Day Baking

     Valentine's Day is coming and I had a great line up of recipes I had been trying.  I was excited!  A recipe for Cookie Dough Truffles, GF Magic Bar, a Red Beet cake that avoids the dyes of the red velvet cake, and in the holiday spirit and the color red, Plum Preserves for something different.
    I began my cooking with these Dairy Free Cookie Dough Truffles.
    I had made the recipe up to the point of refrigerating them for two hours.  In my two hours, I took care of a few mishaps around the house, several diaper changes, and finished up some school.  Unbeknownst to me, these chilled balls were disappearing from my refrigerator.  I opened the refrigerator to get the ingredients for dinner and noticed my near empty plate of truffles.  "Who ate the cookie balls!"  rang throughout my house.  These little balls never made it to being kissed with their chocolate coat.
     I did taste one of the three cookie balls that were left.  I thought it tasted kind of gritty.  All of my kids loved it of course, but they like Fruity Pebbles too!  I decided I would make them again and alter how I made the sweetened condensed milk.  I was sure that the grittiness was coming from that.  They would also get dipped in chocolate this time.
      The next day came and I was off with round two.  This time I was going to get that final picture.  I made two different batches of sweetened condensed milk and began anew to make the truffles.  It was a disastrous cooking day.  I ended up with a mess.  With no chance that the dough would form into a ball, I poured it into a pan and called it Cookie Dough Fudge Bars, trying to fool my kids into eating it.
     My crew almost unamiously said that they liked the "balls" better, but these were okay.  I did get a final photo.
     I turned my attention to the second batch of milk.  I made the GF Magic Bars.  I loved how they turned out, except of course my graham cracker crumb layer wasn't exactly right---too crumbly.  Back to the drawing board.  I made it again and it still was not good enough.  This particular mistake was very tasty and I gained several pounds.

     I decided to call it a night and try again tomorrow.  Maybe tomorrow success would be mine.
     The next day arrived and I felt optimistic.  I was going to give baking a break and make the preserves.  It started off well.  Things were looking good. 
     This was the beginnings of my plum jam.  Stirring the preserves, trying to reach the prescribed 220 degrees.  I finished up and let it set for 24 hours and ended up with this.

       This tasted good, but was disappointed that it wasn't in the Valentine's theme of red.  It was more of a rust color.  I was coming to grips that my Valentine's Day posts were going down in flames.  I decided that I would make this recipe again when plums were in season. To comfort myself, I heated up a bagel and smothered it in jam.
      After my bagel, I decided to try my hand at a white cake, dying each layer a different shade of red/pink.  I should have kept my promise to myself and not bake!  I made the cake and the magic eight ball said once again "No!" It was a flop too.  Doesn't it look like the cake is weeping for me.
    Okay! Okay!  I still wanted to try one more thing--the red beet cake.  I was determined to be successful.  I made a batch of red beet cupcakes. But once again---I turned my back to let them cool and sure enough there were none.  I gave my 'mommy the blogger 'lecture of how I needed those cupcakes to take a picture .  My daughter looked at me and unwrapped a napkin to reveal the lone cupcake that she swiped for me to take a picture.  She had remembered the countless sermons that I had given before.  I snapped a picture, and ate it.  Enough was enough. 

    The next day, I decided to take the day off.  I really did.  I baked nothing.  My kids wondered what was for dessert.  The past few days were filled with scents of baking cakes and cookies and they were looking for tonights creation.  I opened a pint strawberries and topped them with chocolate sauce.  They devoured them and couldn't stop talking about how yummy they were.  Go figure.  My kids reminded of a simple truth...keep it simple. 

I hope you all have a Happy Valentine's Day!!!!!


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