I am still trying to talk myself into it being Tuesday. Anyone else having that problem? Hopefully everyone had a fun-filled weekend - I know I did! I spent most of it outdoors soaking up the perfect 75+ degree weather, but I spent a good portion sampling the competition in the Nashville area. I mean, twist my arm with their chewy, salty peanut butter cookies, right? After all, what's more American than peanut butter and a little healthy competition on a beautiful Memorial weekend? I even got to spend a little time by the pool with a local baker. He's very talented and impressive, and unbelievably humble. Just talking to him got me to thinking. I don't have to know it all to jump in head first, right? Into the market, not the pool. Stay with me, people!
I have this very conflicting, layered fear of trying new skills in the kitchen that is somehow combined with feeling like I having to know how to bake EVERYTHING in order to be considered a respected baker. So you see my predicament. In order to conquer this fear, I've given myself a goal to bake two items every week this summer that will teach me a new skill in the kitchen. Also, I am signing myself up for two buttercream classes, so that I can make delicious - and beautiful! - treats for all.
The overall goal is to have a well-developed menu and a beautiful array of desserts to offer everyone by September 2013. That's right! September 2013, you should **fingers crossed!** be able to buy something wonderful from Littlest Love. 'Merica!
So, in honor of the American dream, and the people who defend it, I bring you three somewhat patriotic sweets: homemade carrot cake, Sweeteeth "Sea is for Caramel" chocolate bar, and homemade shortbread cookies. Okay, well at least this carrot cake is WAY patriotic! I mean, it's got red, white & blue carrots! And while it was a little dense and too moist for my taste, it went over pretty well with friends. Not bad for my first attempt at carrot cake, or cake in general!
The cream cheese frosting was creamy + tangy + delicious! I'll be attempting carrot cake again soon, but next time I'm thinking layered. I mean, it allows for more of that frosting!
Next up was the best chocolate I have ever set on my tongue - by
. I had no hand in it (other than the one that was moving the chocolate from the wrapper to my mouth). Which is probably best, since I know how temperamental chocolate is and I have yet to gather my patience to attempt that feat. But this bar was sweet, smooth dark chocolate that encased a buttery, rich caramel filling. And the bar was crusted with thick, flaky fleur de sel. AND I got to enjoy it with a glass of red wine on a picnic at a local vineyard with my love. Talk about perfection!
And lastly but not leastly (spell check ignored because it sounds kitschy), homemade shortbread cookies. This was my first ever attempt with a recipe that I came up with on the fly. And you know what? I love it! Talk about a home run on this one. The cookies were lightly sweetened, buttery and had a perfect crumb.
I made little and big stars, depending on whether people were feeling a little indulgent, or a lot indulgent. I don't judge - I'm an equal opportunity baker and taste tester!