Four.

I did not make this vegan confetti cupcake, but Capital City Bakery did.

When I started this blog, I didn’t really have any purpose other than to document my baking adventures. And that’s fine. Do I really need a niche? No. It was never my intention to attract brands and try to turn this thing into a living, which might be a healthy mindset to have when there are so many good blogs out there.

It makes sense, but I quickly learned that it’s easy to befriend other bloggers through blogging. It’s like having a virtual support group that provides encouragement through comments and social media. As a shy person who’s always felt more outgoing behind a screen, this satisfied a bit of the longing to interact with people, but from a safe distance. Continue reading

Wordless Wednesday: Beer & Brats

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Brats Banh Mi + Sputnik

Mr. Sparkle! (Austin Beerworks Pilsner + MAGIC)

Whole Foods opened their fifth(!) Austin location at the Domain today. Last week they held a happy hour for bloggers at Austin Beerworks to preview some of their food offerings. (There was also barbeque shrimp and gumbo that was tasty, but not very photogenic.)

Pretzel Perseverance

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Pretzels und Beer Cheese!

When my friend Jill proposed baking cupcakes or something together in lieu of exchanging Christmas gifts, I asked if we could make pretzels. Rarely am I so decisive, but they’ve been on my to-bake list and I know that she likes to bake bread, too. (Also, we made cupcakes for my 30th.) This ended up happening on New Year’s Eve at the house of our friends Julie and Andrew in San Antonio. They were having a party that evening, so it seemed like a good idea to do it all in one day.

The pretzel-making got off to a late start due to (my) poor planning and traffic, but it didn’t sound like they would take too much time. We were using Alton Brown’s recipe which looked pretty basic, but the first step of proofing the yeast seemed odd: he says to put the salt in with the water, yeast, and sugar. Our yeast didn’t get very foamy, so we were worried the salt killed it, but went ahead anyway and let the dough rise while we ate dinner. Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

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Maybe someday I will learn to plan ahead and not put off all of my Christmas shopping until the day before Christmas Eve. Perhaps I will even have a plan as to what to buy. That is not today, though I’m happy to report that all presents have been procured.

If you’re in need of one more treat to make that is super duper easy, this fudge is an excellent option. I ran across Megan of Stetted‘s recipe for Dark Chocolate Fudge with Sea Salt while gathering ideas for edible Christmas gifts. It looked too good not to try, and I thought I’d holiday it up by swapping the almond extract and sea salt with peppermint extract and candies. With so few ingredients, it delivers a pure chocolate peppermint flavor.

I made this at my parents’ house which doesn’t have the most helpful light for photos. When I tried to take better photos the next day, I noticed that the crushed peppermint had melted, so boo. Maybe the fridge is too moist? See, it’s perfect for making last minute.

DSC09125 Continue reading

O Christmas Treats!

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The recipe that I was hoping to post a few days ago didn’t quite work out as planned. I thought about trying again or making something else, but there is currently a giant mound of cookies in the kitchen left over from a party. Sounds like a good time for a round-up post, right?

I always enjoy making and giving gifts of the edible variety, so I perused the internet for some ideas in case anyone else just realized that Christmas was NEXT WEEK. The photos are from here and the links are mostly to blogs of friends and fellow Austinites. Continue reading

Turnip Return

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turnip soup + TASTY BREAD

So we’re one week into December, and I have to say that while it’s been nice not making myself post every day for NaBloPoMo, it’s also been weird. More often than not, I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a funk, though not entirely because of not blogging. NaBloPoMo did often feel like a struggle, but having the daily purpose/accomplishment made up for it, which was something I noticed last year. I did need the breather, though. Last weekend I washed an absurd amount of dishes due to baking for Austin Bakes, so there wasn’t any real cooking or baking for the next few days to write about anyway.

I’m not sure what led to this realization, but it occurred to me the other day that I had never (knowingly) had a turnip. How had this not happened? I am 31 years old. Turnips are pretty basic, right? I seem to think of them as “northern” vegetables, along with the somewhat equally foreign parsnips and rutabagas. They are all available here, so I guess it’s more that my family never ate them. In my quest to try pretty much anything once (and to also pull myself out of mopey-ness), turnip soup needed to be made. Continue reading

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