The baking is back….. finally

One of my own personal goals for while I’m not working outside the house is to make sure I have a ready supply of home made baked goods.  Before now I used to be constantly caught out when we had visitors, never having anything to offer them to eat with their cup of tea or coffee.  Let’s be honest they were lucky if I had milk to go in the tea, a biscuit or piece of cake was just a bridge too far.  But not now.  Now I have the time, am suitably organised in the pantry department and have two ready apprentices to make it all the more…… fun?

The trickiest part has been getting my head around my new stove which seems to be much hotter than the temperature dial would indicate (I must get an oven thermometer to test it).  At first I thought it was because of the fan force, so I stopped using that.  Then I found that not only was the oven still hotter than it should be, but that the front and back of the oven varied wildly.  Now I turn the temp down by 20-30c and use the fan, it seems to be working better, but I do check regularly (no souffle here, I’d have to open the oven door a dozen times during the cooking).

You can see by the series of photos to follow that my skills with the oven have definitely improved.  And it’s worth noting that we don’t eat loads of sweet things ourselves so, for now at least, what I make lasts a while and I only have to bake once a week.

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Anzac biscuits – obviously not my best efforts.  I did manage one tray of decent cookies, the other two were like this.

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Chocolate cupcakes decorated expertly by Miss Two and Miss Four with dark pink (looks red here) icing and sprinkles.  They had a ball doing these and they were the perfect accompaniment for a tea party with the girls and one of their little friends.  I love the red with white polka dot tea set Miss Four got for her birthday one year, but we only bring it out on special occasions (lots of the pieces are chipped and a couple broken completely, such a shame).

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And this week we’ve got peanut caramel squares.  This was a fabulously easy and quick recipe to whip up and with things I generally have in the pantry all the time.  I only had half a cup of peanuts so I used cashews to make up the rest.  It’s very tasty, perhaps a little too moreish though.  A good friend and I had a lovely long afternoon chat over tea (well, water for her) and this slice as our kids played.

I even had enough time (and importantly enough light) to take a decent picture of this one.  Lately my camera skills haven’t gotten beyond a quick snap often on my phone.  With this one I had time to set up a shot by a light filled window, despite the heavily overcast day.  I went so far as to take the camera off auto and did the whole thing in manual.  It makes such a difference to what the food looks like and I’ve been so disappointed with my efforts lately.  I really hope I’m able to do this a bit more often – I had some child free time that allowed me to do this one.

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4 Responses to The baking is back….. finally

  1. Jenny Pearson says:

    Hi Barbara, I too love to cook, and most times I have something lurking in the cupboard to share, or just to have something nice with my afternoon cuppa – how annoying when you put time and effort into something only to have it spoilt – I have just been crushing biscuits for a base, when the thought came to me, why not try a couple of slices/biscuits that require no cooking almost, are easy and very tasty, and where you can be assisted by your beautiful helpers, slices such as the old fashioned lemon slice, hedgehog slice and one of my favourites, chocolate truffles, all of which can be refrigerated. Maybe this is the way to go until you properly test the oven, so as to avoid further disappointment. The recipe for chocolate truffles are as follows – I tin condensed milk, 2 tablespoons cocoa, 1 1/2 cups coconut, I packet of plain biscuits of any brand (cheap ones are okay!!), Crush biscuits finely, and add everything else and mix well. Roll into small balls and roll in either coconut or chocolate sprinkles or some of each. I put my coconut or chocolate sprinkles in a freezer bag and add a few balls at a time and shake well. Refrigerate until firm. Must be kept in refrigerator between eating!!! Can vouch for these as being something both mine loved, as did all their friends, and kid friendly to make. Hope this gives you some ideas. Can I also suggest that maybe when you have time you could post the recipe for the peanut caramel squares – I believe my “handyman” would like to taste test them!!!

  2. Barbara Good says:

    Good thinking Jenny, no-cook slices etc will be my next effort. And I’ll post the recipe for the caramel peanut squares tomorrow for you. My bet is your taste tester will be very happy.

  3. Pingback: What does a baker do when she can’t bake? | The New Good Life

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