When you are on holiday away from your daily grind, you tend to revisit things you have not done in a while. When you are losing weight, you tend to revisit foods you chose to shun away… while you are on holiday.
Well folks, I am on holiday. I am still calorie counting, I am still fat shaming, but I am certainly not stopping myself from making delicious treats. Last night I decided to let the pastry chef deep down within me come back to life. Before I left for Toronto, I made a last minute decision to bring along a cookbook I received as a gift. My good friend gave this to me a couple years ago as a Christmas present and while I spent an quite a bit of time dog-earring and bookmarking things I wanted to make, I never got around to it.
Why the hell not?!
I have no one to make it for! My roommate and I eat these sorts of foods sparingly and most of the treats end up in the freezer or the rubbish. I am solely responsible for the weight gain at work so I have tapered off that habit as well. But when I am with my fiancé and my cousins… let the baking begin.
So this cookbook. It has quite the thorough array of puddings, cakes, frostings and savouries. I am in love with this cookbook and everything it has to offer. I just… hate… dealing… with… flour. I love baked goods, I hate the mess.
In fact, set in me into my own kitchen with my own tools and tricks… but hand me yeast dough to mix and knead and I completely go “apeshit” with every stuck piece of dough to my hands, arms and face. It is a right nightmare when I make dough, but the end result is a wonderful marvel of baking technique… or lack thereof.
Back to the cookbook.
The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day is truly worth a look if you are into collecting books for the kitchen. The way their recipes are set up contain fail-safes and dummy-proofing to allow any skill-level home chef the ability to wow everyone at the dinner table. Case in point, last night we have been wanting to make these Pinkies Chocolate Lunch Box Treats for several months. If you are a fan of Hostess’s Sno Balls to the tune of a frosting-filled chocolate cake covered in marshmallow and desiccated coconut, this is right up your fatty alley. If you are not a fan of the marshmallow, you have found your cake because my goodness, the decision to coat this cake in some buttercream instead of marshmallow was pure gold.
Instead of opting for a marshmallow coating cover the cupcake, you instead spread some of the buttercream over the top and sides and then dip it directly into some desiccated coconut, refrigerate (or eat on the spot like I did) and then you are left with such a wonderful sugar-coma inducing treat.
We had to improvise a few things as we did not readily have coconut extract for the frosting, but in the end, it was not a deal breaker.
Little Debbie take a back seat because this cupcake satisfied the frosting-filled cake lover AND the coconut lover all in one bit. Well… one big bite… so stop your seduction tactics with them Honey Buns.
I cannot take all the credit though, my Achilles heel is frosting. I have no patience and no skill to make a good buttercream and it always ends up a soupy mess with not enough icing sugar, too much butter and… just… disastrous. I left that job to my fiancé while I made and baked the coffee-infused chocolate cakes. It was when he was following the instructions for the buttercream that we discovered its fail-safe.
You are instructed to make what seems like a béchamel to incorporate with the whipped butter and icing sugar to make the buttercream. I have never heard of this technique, but it made sense in the way that it would keep hold of your buttercream should you misstep elsewhere in the process. It was quite frankly the best buttercream I had ever tasted. I can only imagine how it would have been had we added coconut extract into it instead of extra vanilla.
Assembly was easy and yielded us about 24 cupcakes, versus the 18 stated in the recipe. I have had 3… or 4, ok maybe 5 of these cupcakes in the last 12 hours. Obsessed, I cannot wait to try these again with other toppings and flavours. We now have a ton of buttercream to sort out, but I have a feeling we will attack another cupcake recipe in this book that will lead to another blog post from me while I am here in Toronto.
So what else was there?
Oh yeah, before our cupcake expedition, I wanted to make a Nutella Brioche Flower. I follow the guys at Sorted Food and they come up with the greatest simplified dishes for the novice and home chef. They had posted about their Nutella Brioche Flower, but again I had to tackle the infamous yeast dough. I will complain until the end of time until I find the perfect yeast dough for me.
So… I… wanted… an improvisation.
Puff pastry, and puff pastry was an amasing substitution for a yeast bread because the end result was so crispy and flaky with layers of Nutella cream in between. You must make it. In retrospect, mine came out more like a clover versus a flower, I think if I decide to make this again I will cut more slips into the flower in order to twist more petals out of it.
This was quite the midnight snack for my fiancé and I. Despite our different approaches to cooking and baking, (he is SO exact with measurements, whereas I am the… “fill the cup/spoon and shake it about… yup, looks about right!” type of chef) we can make some of the most delightful treats together.
Try these out, you will not regret them. Just make sure you have a dinner guest, I cannot justify these on your own aside from just wanting to be a fatty for the weekend. But then again, that is not too bad of an idea for a weekend in.