apple crisp. With a small and simple list of ingredients, fruit crisps, crumbles and cobblers are things I no longer need recipes for. Peeling and slicing the apples, mixing in the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon and making the crumb topping felt therapeutic and by the time I put the apple crisp in the oven, it felt like I was starting to get some mental control over the emotional chaos I'd been battling for the past couple of days. It just felt right. And as usual, the apple crisp was delicious.
In order to keep baking, I had to distribute the fruits of my labor, so the next day I brought both the cookies and what was left of the apple crisp, which was most of it, to work. It was Halloween and there was candy everywhere but my colleagues thoroughly enjoyed the homemade baked goods and I felt extremely gratified to present them. At the end of the day I brought home the empty containers and contemplated what I wanted to bake next. When they were at the peak of their season, my husband purchased a flat of blueberries and I had three huge bags of them in the freezer. Blueberry muffins seemed like an excellent choice. Muffins are not difficult to make and I found a suitable recipe that made a dozen muffins. However, for some unknown reason, I convinced myself that I needed to make more than a dozen. Looking back on it, I have no idea why I didn't just follow the recipe. In the end, I tried to make a recipe and a half of the batter, hoping for 18 muffins, but I miscalculated the measurements and the batter was extremely thick. I added an extra egg and an additional half cup of milk, but it didn't really help.
demarara sugar and gave it about an hour at 350 degrees. To test for doneness, I slipped a knife into the thick part of the center. When it came out clean, the pudding was baked.
More than a week had passed since the shooting and I was finding a bit of peace in baking my feelings. The 2018 midterm elections were taking place the next day and half the country was holding its breath while the other half was blowing hot air in the build up to election day. I contemplated my baking options the night before. So far, I'd baked a crisp, a batch of cookies, a failed bundt cake and a bread pudding but what did I want to do next? Pie? Cupcakes? I needed something a little more challenging and settled on a two layer marble cake with chocolate frosting. I found a recipe and blog post that sounded perfect, which you can find HERE if you're curious. Instead of the whipped buttercream frosting called for in this recipe, I opted for my favorite frosting made with cream cheese, which I've made many times before. The tangy edge of the cream cheese keeps any cake from tasting too sweet and its my go-to frosting - you can find the recipe HERE. I had everything I needed for the cake in the fridge and pantry, but when I started pulling out ingredients, I realized that I had just enough baking powder to make this recipe. I don't think I've ever finished a container of baking powder. I use it so infrequently that I typically have to buy a fresh tub of it and throw the old one out every few years. But here I was, at the bottom of the container. A sense of great accomplishment washed over me. The moment the polls closed at 8:00 pm, I retired to the kitchen to make magic happen.
apple pie. My brother and sister-in-law were coming to visit and she loves apple pie, so I figured I could brighten both of our lives a little by baking for her. It had been a busy week and I stopped at the store that day and bought a pre-made pie crust, which was a sign that I'm starting to come to terms with my feelings. The pie is yummy served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Half of it is sitting in the fridge right now and I have vowed not to bake again until we finish what I've already baked. While my heart still hurts, so do the hearts of my friends, neighbors and community and we are getting through this together. I don't think I'm the only Pittsburgher who is baking or cooking their feelings right now and I'm sure there will be more baking in the weeks and months ahead. In the end, there is great hope in the knowledge that we can sweeten our own small corners of the world when things seem hopeless. Let me know if you need a little lovin' from the oven. I'm more than happy to oblige.