I decided to make a few New Year’s baking resolutions this year to help motivate me to try new things and get a bit more organized. Because isn’t that what most resolutions are about? Mine are just more kitchen focused.
Here’s what I came up with:
1. Learn how to use lustre dust. I bought some on impulse, I just haven’t quite figured out what to do with it.
2. Stop buying kitchen things on impulse.
3. Use up odds and ends in the kitchen before buying more ingredients for new recipes. I seem to always have stuff like a half bag of butterscotch chips, an open box of graham cracker crumbs or a partial container of heavy cream hanging around and they go bad before I use them up. Then I go buy more of the same stuff.
4. Figure out how to do birthday mash-ups. My team has grown from 12 people to about 30 in the past two years. In December we had eight birthdays, and I just don’t have the time to pull off that many highly-personalized parties so close together. So this might be the year we have a Chuck Norris in Paris party to combine all the birthdays from one month.
5. Try some gluten-free recipes. We have a handful of gluten-free co-workers now so I’d like to find tasty recipes that everyone can enjoy. Suggestions?
6. Work on my decorating skills. I love to bake cakes, hate to decorate them. I may never be a whiz with a decorating bag, but there are shortcuts I could take with sprinkles, candies, flowers, and other adornments that will fancy things up a bit. Because presentation counts.
7. Plan ahead! Get a baking calendar together for the year so I know what I’m making next week and next month. Because if I wait until the day before I need to bake and have to go through all these cookbooks, there’s really no hope.
I’ve already got number 7 covered. I took an old binder, put dividers in it for each month, and then I went through the big pile of recipes that’s been living next to my fireplace and sorted them out by when I’m most likely to make them.
I filed maple recipes under July for Canada Day, Harry Potter recipes under May for the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, and apple recipes under September for when I start thinking about autumnal baking.
Then I dealt with number 3. In my pile o’ recipes I found Martha Stewart’s Gooey Coconut Dream Bars. It called for graham cracker crumbs, shredded coconut, semi-sweet chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk – all of which I had and wanted to use up.
The bars are super easy to make and incredibly tasty. Just make sure you press the graham cracker crumbs down really firmly to get a nice crust.
And for a little teaser of what’s coming up soon on my baking calendar, here’s a video of Hanson eating bacon: