My secret baking last week was a special treat for J.’s grandma’s birthday. I wanted to make her a decadent, not-for-everyday dessert that she could stash in her fridge and enjoy over the course of a week or so. Since she is a chocolate lover, I immediately thought to make Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies — hands down, the best special occasion brownie around! They were well received, so I’m glad I spent the time making them. They are a little fussy to make but totally worth it. Since the recipe makes a half sheet pan worth of brownies, I divied up some of the rest into packets for friends and put away a small amount in our freezer for the boys.
This week I’m baking a chocolate chip cookie cake for G.’s Valentine’s Day celebration at school. He has instructed me that we need to decorate the cake with “white frosting all around, and Valentine’s M&Ms, and a big heart in the middle.” OK, can do. He’ll help me with the decorating.
Otherwise, I’m heavy on soup again this week (Black Bean and also Curried Split Pea). It seems to be all I want to eat in this cold, cold weather.
I am excited for a couple of baking projects this week. One is secret… shhh. But the other is not: I was tapped to make the Valentine’s Day cake for my second grader’s class celebration. He decided we should make a chocolate chip cookie cake, which he’ll help me decorate. I do love when he helps me in the kitchen, so I am looking forward to that time together on Wednesday.
Edited to add: I can’t seem to keep my days or weeks straight recently. The cookie cake is for NEXT week, not this one. So I have less baking to do than I thought I would. Darn!
Not much went according to plan last week, but we did eat. I finally tried the Light Wheat Rolls. G. wasn’t a fan. A. liked them but agreed with me that we could look for a better recipe next time. I think I just have better luck with white whole wheat flour than a mixture of AP and whole wheat. J. did make fantastic lamb burgers over the weekend — I will look forward to having them again. And, I did get my Sunday birthday dinner — an Indian feast and mini cupcakes from Crumbs.
We spent much of this past long weekend doing large batch cooking (Chicken Soup, J.’s Favorite Goulash, smoked brisket, smoked beef ribs, and swordfish) so that J. could play with his newest kitchen toy, a pressure cooker/canner. I don’t even blink when he tells me about the next gadget he is interested in buying, because whatever it is we wind up using it. I know I’ve mentioned many times how helpful we find our vacuum sealer: I use it for packaging soups and stews for the freezer, and every few months J. will do a ton of meat on the smoker and portion it out in vacuum-sealed bags. Now we’re canning food too, both in glass jars and in retort pouches. It’s very time consuming, so I’m curious to see how we like the food that has been treated this way.
For this week, though, we’re back to food we cook and eat the same day. I’d like to bake something sweet this week, too.
I'm Dara, the Chick in the Kitchen. Living in the suburbs of Manhattan with my two school-aged boys and husband. Feeding my family something more diverse than a different shape of pasta each night. Read more about me and CITK, and keep in touch: