I've been putting the good ol' o-chem skills to use this week. I know...I shouldn't do that often. It might induce huge amounts of stress and hair pulling. But one thing I do remember from my o-chem lectures at Berkeley was...making molecules is just like following a recipe.
I'm a pro at following recipes...however, I NEVER understood an o-chem recipe...other than they all seemed to be recipes for disaster.
AND, I could care less about what the outcome was whereas, my baking outcomes are so much more delightful. So far anyway (knock on wood). I have yet to burn the place down ;-)
So this week I was determined to come up with a few of my own recipes. I didn't want to tweak something and make it my own...I wanted it all my own. And so I pulled nearly everything out of my baking cupboard and made a solid mess in the kitchen. It had "chemistry lab" written all over it. But holy moly was it a ton of FUN!
I don't know where my idea for a Disaronno cupcake came from....probably that we had a full bottle of it sitting in the freezer and I've been dying to make myself an Amaretto Sour but still haven't conquered that goal since my birthday (which was mid-December)...so I decided to use the Disaronno in a cupcake along with almond extract and chopped almonds.
Have I mentioned that I love almond? No?...well, I love almond :-)) I didn't want the almond, almond, almond to be over-powering, and I think I was able to capture a nice balance with a white-chocolate almond cream cheese frosting. The cake was perfectly dense and the frosting thick and rich. And the added chopped almonds gave a great texture to the cake. I love a good texture.
The second idea came to me while reading a blog on granola cookies of all things! Who da thought? For some reason, when I got to the coconut part of her recipe...my mind rang "7-layer bars!!!" and I had to zoom right to a simple 7-layer bar recipe to remember each layer. Then it was off to the kitchen again to get the right concoction of all those 7 layers. Tricky getting all those ingredients together in a cohesive manner. I went with a chocolate chip/sweetened condensed milk frosting (there's two of your layers), a butter, butterscotch chip, coconut, pecan cake (that makes 6)....topped with a crumbled gram cracker garnish!
And that my friends is my 7-layer bar cupcake magic!
And magic it was and has been indeed!
I can't believe how well my first two experimentations went in the kitchen. I can't imagine they should all go as well these the first two tries...but I'm hoping for the best! And thinking....maybe that o-chem wasn't a waste of my time after all ;-)