Workflows are slowing, accruals are hastily accelerated, and staff are excitedly preparing for their time off. I once again opt out of a holiday vacation, for there is, really, nothing to do and nowhere to go. Dreadfully missed trips to Vancity can yet be executed with good feeling; moreover, I quite enjoy working without pinging disruptions.
1) Copycat Cranberry Bliss Bars
Earlier in the month came contemplation of my next baking endeavour: Nanaimo Bars or a homemade rendition of Starbucks' Cranberry Bliss Bar. Poll results favoured the latter; eager responses requested relaying of the final formula upon seeing success.
Rather than aimless scans of each, I sought guidance from the almighty SK. "Infinitely adaptable" - her recipe had read; I proceeded to take her words literally and incorporated the flavourings from the very first Google Search result.
Orange extract was apparently non-negotiable, prompting procurement of Watkins Pure Orange Extract. The addition indeed proved vital in both the blondie base and cream cheese frosting: its inclusion was noticeable, leaving a distinct tingle on the tongue following consumption. Several other recipes had noted it as "optional", but I'd disagree with that remark. The same would apply to orange zest - definitely not optional. Ginger powder, on the hand, was less important and could be substituted with cinnamon for the same subtle spicy warmth if desired.
Future attempts shall see use of a jelly roll pan instead for height balance, omission of baking powder, and perhaps less brown sugar (more flour?) to eliminate the sweetener-induced twinges. White chocolate-enhanced cream cheese frosting was splendid, offering the structure missed in the original version.
I've been itching for chocolate cake for some time now. Equipped with a new mini muffin pan, a complimentary piping tip and bag combo, and reassurance that oil in cakes doesn't always lead to greasy fumes, I dove into Sunday Baking's Chocolate Dessert playlist. There were several contenders, but the one for Halloween Chocolate Cupcakes required the fewest modifications.
I also initially questioned the inclusion of hot water in the formula, but must admit that it allowed the cakes to remain light even after cooling and refrigerating.
The unplanned second venture involved more marshmallows, adherence to the cereal box recipe, and toasted almonds to top. Underestimation of the roasting time caused more browning than desired. The slices retained amazing fragrance, but were very frail in texture.