Deviating from the Norm in Baking

Posted on May 19, 2011 
Filed Under Cakes, Cookies and bars, Pies

You bake cookies. You could do it on autopilot. Your kids even know the drill… one time, Tiffany came out to the kitchen as I was starting cookie baking and said, “Can I help you bake cookies?”
“How did you know I’m gonna bake cookies?”, I asked.
“Because I saw you open the mixer and get that *pointing to the shortening* and the sugar out of the cupboard, and that’s how you always start baking cookies.”, she confidently said.

Sometimes I feel in such a rut with cooking and baking. When we have cookies around, 90% of the time they’re either monster or chocolate chip. When we have cake around, 90% of the time, it’s chocolate with peanut butter icing. When we have pie around, 90% of the time it’s either peanut butter or lemon meringue. And it looks like when I get into a percentage rut, it’s usually 90%. Seriously, though, if I make something other than the things listed above, you pretty much always see it on here. Sometimes I feel too predictable and want to change things up a bit…

We can still have our favorites, but in a different way.

Take chocolate chip cookies, for example. I was making some for an after school snack, so you know, for kids. Instead of using the same ol’ Pampered Chef cookie scoop, I just used a spoon and made teeny little scoops. The teeny little scoops turned into adorable 1-and-a-half-inch-in-diameter cookies. The adorable cookies, placed in a little bucket, turned into an after school snack that was a huge hit… little cookies, huge hit. They thought it was great that they could have TEN cookies for after school snack! 😉
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Awwwwwww.

And now, not to wreck the fun I’m-SOOOOOO-gonna-bake-cookies-this-afternoon-and-do-that-cuz-the-kids’ll-love-it mood or anything, but just let me warn you: the dough goes down v.e.r.y slowly, it takes way longer to put them on and get them off the cookie sheet, and the yield is dozens and dozens, do not even try to count.

*WHIPLASH ALERT*

We’re now going to switch from baking dozens of little time-consuming mini cookies to 1 pan of bars. 

Let’s say you’re baking cookies and you mix the dough up and while the first panful is in the oven, you realize you’re not really in the mood to bake cookies after all… not in the mood to drop them onto the cookie sheet every 10 minutes, not in the mood to be setting your laptop down and jumping up 5 times an hour.

But, you’ve got a batch of dough sitting there.

No problem. Just spread the dough in a sheet cake pan and bake it for 25 minutes… and ta-da, bars made from your favorite cookie recipe. I just tried this for the first time about 3 weeks ago and thought it was really great that I thought to do this on my own UNTIL some of my friends said, “Oh, yeah, I do that all the time.” :roll:
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Side note here: that’s my chocolate chip cookie recipe, except that I substituted FUDGE + 1 cup of flour for the chocolate chips. I had about 5 cups of fudge on hand from when I made this cake.
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I was going to use the fudge in the middle layer between the 2 cakes, but then when I started spreading it on, I was afraid it would be too soft and squish out from the weight of the cake plus car on top of it (I used melted-then-hardened chocolate instead). So, I used the fudge up in those cooki— uh, I mean bars.

Another way to change up chocolate chip cookies is to mix them up and bake them, leaving out the chocolate chips. Then, melt the chocolate chips, spread them on something metal to harden and make cutouts. Or just drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies. After they’re baked, you can cut out some of the baked cookies into heart shapes… the girls (and I) did these 2 years ago for Valentines Day and we shipped them to WI to their 2 grandmas.
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For cake: sometimes I do chocolate cake with peanut butter icing in a 9×13, sometimes I do it in a sheet cake pan, and once in a great while, into cupcakes. I know, exciting. 😆 Next time, I’m going to do mini ones. I made mini cupcakes for the first time last week. If you ever want to do this, one cake mix made exactly 6 dozen… I filled the wells about 3/4 full with batter. And it takes double the frosting. 😉 Pile it up even more than this… it’s part of what makes minis fun. I only made a single batch, so I couldn’t put as much on as I wanted to AND I ran out.
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For pie… if you want lemon meringue pie, but not in big piece form, do this: make pie crust, cut 3″ circles, press them into mini muffin pans, and bake. Make your regular lemon pie filling and fill the crusts. Make regular meringue and pipe or dollop it on, brown it in the oven, and you’ve got these sweet li’l thangs…
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You could do that with probably any kind of pie. It’s great for potlucks or snacks.

And now, still on the pie subject, the grand finale to this whole ‘switching things up’ thing… how about calorie-free… 😉
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I ran across this website (April Cottage Ramblings) one day as I was surfing and immediately saved the link. Absolutely amazing!!! Seriously, this lady is talented… she KNITTED a piece of pie and a donut!!! She knits and crochets other stuff too… I fell in love with a little short-sleeved ruffly purple sweater that she made for her granddaughter. I don’t know her, and I don’t knit, but I’m very impressed. And it sounds like she’s going to knit more cakes, so I’m going to stay tuned. :)

Coming up next… Lately, I’ve been hungry for lettuce salad with craisins and pecans in it, so I’m going to look for a recipe like that. I don’t have one in mind, so if you have a slam good one that you’re bursting to share, let me know! :)

Comments

9 Responses to “Deviating from the Norm in Baking”

  1. Kay on May 19th, 2011 8:37 am

    Every time I see the title, I think “Who’s Norm?” Hmmm, maybe I should’ve worded it differently…
    :)

  2. Beth on May 19th, 2011 9:29 am

    Love this! And I think the title is fine – my ‘normal’ is chocolate chip cookies, but I sure don’t make cakes or pies often enough to call that normal. If I make them, I’m the one who ends up eating it…can’t let that good stuff go to waste! :) I like making dessert though, so I often choose that if I need to take something to family or church activities.

    Hey, do you have the small Pampered Chef scoop? I wonder how that would compare to your method of using a spoon. Also, their large scoop is perfect for filling muffin tins.

  3. Amy on May 19th, 2011 10:47 am

    LOL… That pie slice looks like a skunk tail! I had to read what you said it was, look at it again and then.. AHhh!! Now I see it! 😀

  4. Connie Stoll on May 19th, 2011 11:14 am

    Festive Tossed Salad
    12 c mixed greens, 3/4 c dried cranberries, 4 oz feta cheese. Saute 1 c chopped walnuts (or pecans) with 3 T butter, cool and toss with 1/4 c sugar, 1 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp salt. Toss salad with dressing just before serving. Dressing: 1/4 cup red wine or cider vinegar, 1/2 cup loose fresh parsely, 1/4 cup chopped red onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/8 tsp salt and 1/2 cup olive oil. Puree in food processor or blender, regrigerate until serving. Just had this salad last weekend and it is absolutely delicious!

  5. Shannon on May 19th, 2011 2:34 pm

    Now who did you say Norm was? 😀 jk!

    I think my cookie scoop is too small. It always takes forever to get to the bottom of the bowl. I just love that “bar” idea more and more!!

  6. Michelle on May 20th, 2011 8:13 am

    My mom makes those tiny cookies and I LOVE eating them, but since I often feel as though I’m being poisoned in the kitchen (slight exaggeration, of course), I’m a bar kind of girl. :) So I am very happy to know that I can do that with cookies dough, too!

  7. Jolene on May 23rd, 2011 3:04 pm

    I just recently got a wonderful salad recipe with craisins, pecans, sesame sticks, purple onion, red pepper and grated cheese. It’s so good!!! I posted it on “A page in the life of a mom” if your interested.

  8. Beth on June 11th, 2011 6:35 pm

    Isn’t it about time to eat some cheesecake? Ha! I’ll take that back, but I’d welcome a new post. :)

  9. Kay on June 13th, 2011 10:07 am

    Thanks Beth. :) Yeah, cheesecake eaten… new post coming up soon. Actually, it’ll be salad next, not cheesecake.

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