Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Easier than pie

I think I start most of my posts with a reaffirmation of my insanity. Why stop now?

Today is my office’s holiday potluck, and I’d signed up to bring a pie. I had planned to bake my chocolate pecan recipe last night, but then my evening plans changed suddenly and I wouldn’t have enough time for 20 minutes of stovetop time plus an hour in the oven (plus sleep).

My cupboards are perennially stocked with all manner of baking goods. If you have a dessert emergency, I am prepared. So, changing my dessert plan didn’t require a trip to any store. I quickly decided on a basic, from-the-box chocolate cake. And the absolutely easiest way to prepare a cake for a crowd is to do a sheet-cake. Served in the pan, with icing on top. Nothing fancy.

I tried. I really tried. I even began extracting my 9x13 pan from the stack of casserole dishes. But I just couldn’t. No, the dish was not stuck. The problem was me, not my cabinet organization.

When I have a cupboard full of fancier pans—-choo choo trains, snowmen, cupcakes (mini, normal, and "Texas-sized"), round, square, heart--I can’t make just a big plain rectangle. Even for work.


I used my bundt pan, which is almost as easy as a big plain rectangle, but looks fancier. And it isn’t a layer cake, so doesn’t require as much work to ice it. I also had some leftover homemade peppermint white chocolate icing (what, you don’t just keep this stuff around?). By "leftover", I mean that I used about 3/4 of the batch on cookies about twenty minutes earlier, in preparation for a cookie exchange (also at the office today), to make Peppermint Sandwich Cookies*.

So, once the cake was cool, I warmed the peppermint icing up just enough to make it runny and poured it over the cake. Then crushed 2 candy canes and sprinkled them on top. Perfect. Fancy looking, but a total of about 10 minutes of active work (the stand mixer does most of the hard part, and there’s practically no measuring since it’s from a mix).

Maybe I'm not entirely insane. Just obsessive. Or is there a difference?

*Note on the cookies: I added about 1/2 cup powdered sugar to the filling recipe because mine just would not thicken even after spending the night in the fridge. With the sugar and about 2 minutes with the whisk in the stand mixer, I had a fluffier, icing-like filling for my cookies. And since I used salted butter in the cookie part (and had added the full amount of salt called for in the recipe), I think the extra sweetness was a good thing.

1 comment:

HiddenChicken said...

I share your compulsion. If it's cooking, I can't NOT fiddle with a recipe or, if I'm cooking for someone not family, there's no way I can do something really basic. I try - I really, really do. But I just can't stop myself. Good thing that it isn't too much extra work to make something look and taste a little fancier or I'd never sleep.