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 still had sweet potatoes left from my last farm share, and although I kept intending to make burritos with them it just never happened. I was going to make Sweet Potato Buttermilk Cornbread, but didn’t want to buy buttermilk for just that recipe. Instead, I decided to try my hand at another yeast roll (I’d made Pumpkin Dinner Rolls once before — what is with me and orange bread?).
I settled on Sweet Potato Rolls, using the puree from my microwaved CSA sweet potatoes, and they turned out beautifully. They are soft and substantial, with a bit of chewiness when you bite into them. I thought they were texturally perfect, so yay me! However, the flavor was bland. Really no hint of the sweet potato, and not quite sweet or savory. Like white bread. But, hot out of the oven they are wonderful — what could be bad about a freshly-baked roll? A. liked them a lot and G. said they were “pretty good,” but then he only ate a nibble.
I had to start this recipe at 2 PM in order to have them ready for dinner — they need to rise twice. I scheduled them today because I knew I’d be home all afternoon, but I wonder if it’s worth it. It is an easy recipe, and I did feel a sense of accomplish in baking with yeast successfully. Still, even though the hands-on time is low it just seems like a lot of work for not enough reward. A fun project for once in a while, but not something I’d want to do regularly.
Edited to add: These were very good at room temperature the next morning. You could taste more of the sweetness in the recipe, and they made a lovely breakfast.
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: