So. Starting a blog in the middle of this baking journey. I’ve already done so much, made so many varieties – where to start?
I suppose I could do a list – I love lists, being a librarian and someone who is typically hyper-organized no matter what I’m doing – but that’s boring. Where’s the excitement in a post like that? Instead, let me talk about some accomplishments. When it comes to baking – yeah, I have a few!
The first time I really realized that baking (cupcakes especially) was going to be my “thing” was at work, one of my first years at the library.
For our staff inservice day, we each brought a food item, and people could vote on their favorites. Naturally, I wanted to contribute, because I never feel comfortable at a potluck unless I’ve brought something, too. I happened to have a cookbook checked out and decided to just go ahead and try a couple recipes that sounded good to me. I made a chocolate lover’s cupcake (chocolate sponge, fudge frosting, and m&m’s sprinkled on top) and a peppermint mocha (peppermint mocha sponge, fudge frosting, and peppermint andes pieces on top) since the party fell around the holidays. I was so proud, and didn’t really pay much mind to whether I’d win or not.
Lo and behold, wouldn’t you know it, I won the “sweet food” category! I even got a prize for it! The glory and fame would have been enough, but to get a gift card to Target on top of it was heavenly. (Because let’s be honest – Target is heavenly.) The library hasn’t done this competition since, but trust me, if they did, I’d be entering.
One of the things I love most about baking is getting to try new things. New flavor combinations, new ingredients, all of it. Recently I’ve taken an interest in replicating other baked goods into cupcake form (stay tuned for my Monster Cookie cupcake!). I also enjoy baking with savory ingredients or alcoholic ingredients. And of course, coffee, because I’m a coffee addict.
A few of my prouder moments came from recipes like these, such as my French toast cupcakes:
Or, they incorporated some of my favorite flavors, like this coffee stout cupcake, which uses brewed espresso and a stout beer. For added coffee flavor, I specifically chose a coffee stout (Wisconsin Brewing’s Porter Joe, which features coffee from local coffee shop Barriques). I topped it with a simple chocolate covered espresso bean from Caribou coffee, and it was a hit.
And in what I can only call a combined stroke of genius and break-the-bank impulse, I used Girl Scout cookies as inspiration for four types of cupcakes: Thanks-A-Lots, Peanut Butter Patties, Caramel Delites, and the holy grail of Girl Scout cookies: Thin Mints. I even made the Thanks-A-Lots cupcakes gluten free!
What this blog comes down to is this: I love baking, I love books, and I spend most of my life on the internet because who doesn’t, these days?
Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see highlighted on this blog, or if you’d like me to share any recipes featured in this post!