Baking is my favorite thing to do, you know that. I think I have a new favorite though. Baking among friends. There's nothing like it.
The DayA simple group text turned into a blogger meet up, which turned into a whole day focused on baking. My dear friends, Kate of Diapers + Skinny Jeans, Katherine of Gathered Heart, and new friend, Catherine Short, one fourth of Grotto Madrid (and connoisseur of Starbucks) got together this past Saturday in my apartment to celebrate all things tasty.
Of course... I have no photos documenting the event. Because of course I don't, but Kate always has her camera on her - a blessing and a curse (mostly cuz I hate getting my picture taken). I was slightly busy doing all the things, but trust me when I say it was one of the most relaxing days I've had in a while. Especially after this week, it was something that was very needed. We sipped on Trader Joe's sparkling lemonades and nibbled pasta salad and just kinda talked about everything.
The RecipesWhat is it about baking with friends that brings me such joy? I would make it a career if I could. Kate brought her Hario drip (which I am now obsessed with) and freshly ground beans from Metropolis to compliment our sweet treats.
We started with a request from Catherine to make cheesecakes - obviously a personal favorite of mine - adapted from a Food Network Magazine recipe for *bacon* cheesecake. Pay no attention to the crust and the addition of bacon but the filling recipe is golden. A few additions is about a tablespoon of lemon zest and a splash of bourbon or brandy - depending on what you have/is hiding in your closet. The crust is simply graham crackers, melted butter, a little sugar and vanilla extract. Bake the crusts a little before you fill them. Also... it's time to get familiar with the bain-marie or a hot water bath. It's not as scary as you think! But it's very vital. Trust me. Your value of life will improve.
After a successful cheesecake endeavor we moved on to our adventure recipe - Dorie Greenspan's Whole Lemon Tart. This was a blind test of character for me to not have tested a recipe before trying it out but I felt it was sound. I mean Dorie Greenspan? Really? Isn't disputing her wisdom a federal crime in Iceland and northern Canadian provinces? The good thing is it turned out well! Really well. I'm going to refer you to Deb at Smitten Kitchen for her adaptation because I would appreciate a less sticky tart. The tart dough crust came from who else but Joy the Baker. Bless her whole heart forever.
We finished with *puts hand on heart* who I call my friend but in reality doesn't know me at all, Ina Garten's scones. I'm gonna rant for a bit here - stay with me. I've had a lot of scones in my day. They're like the novelty baked good based on the name alone. Oo! Scones! They're not from here! I love your accent. But when you get them they're dense and dry and kind of hockey puck-ish in nature and taste. This recipe used lots. and LOTS of cold cubed butter which in turn made it one of the lightest most flaky scones I've had. We split the dough and added cranberries to one half and chocolate chips to the other half. In total? Pure bliss. It's definitely going to be what I measure every scone against. It also ensures that I will never get another scone from Panera... or Starbucks... or the bakery downstairs. Dang. I just went there.
It was a wonderful day, filled with sweet people, sweet conversations, and sweet, sweet baked goods. I can't wait to reconvene in the spring with new recipes and new topics to talk about.
*all photo cred goes to Kate De La Rosa - for higher resolution photos of the day please head to her blog. But really you need to read her blog. Let's be real.