Sunday, September 30, 2012
Weekend wind-down - Signs of the season (9/30)
It was still September today, but I decided it was close enough to October to get out the Halloween mugs. A friend commented that it was possibly even almost cool enough for hot chocolate. That's sort of true, since it was a rainy, cloudy, somewhat cooler weekend. But the real truth is, Brianna & Gillian ask for hot chocolate year-round. I make it from scratch, and pretty much wing it. I put an ounce or so of bittersweet chocolate (30-40 grams) in a small saucepan & cover it with about a quarter cup of boiling water (I usually have some already made for tea). I add a pinch of salt and about a tablespoon of sugar. I bring the mixture to a simmer and whisk in about a cup of milk. I then heat the mixture until it's hot but not too hot. It makes enough for a couple of kid-sized mugs. Marshmallows are served along side.
I've been seeing lots of signs lately that we're changing seasons. It's still way too early to be thinking about December holidays, but I admit that I'm already welcoming a few things that seem to come along with the holiday baking season. This weekend I found several seasonal items at Costco--vanilla beans, parchment paper, and bundt pans. =) I bought a roll of parchment even though I still have some left from last year. It's not like it goes bad, right? I missed the vanilla beans last year--I hesitated when I saw them later in the season, and when I checked again, they were gone. So I grabbed them as soon as I saw them this year. They seem to be pretty good, and I'm sure I'll try to pick up more before they disappear. I don't actually know if they have specialty baking pans every year, but I couldn't help buying one when I saw it. I got a very pretty Nordic Ware Fleur de Lis pan along with a cake keeper for only $20--no way could I pass that up. I'm almost as excited about the storage container as I am about the pan, since I didn't have anything like that (hard to believe, I know).
I love fall (and winter), but the one downside of the changing season is the shortening of good daylight hours for taking pictures of baked goods. I'm starting to realize that part of the reason I haven't been blogging much is that I'm not happy with the pictures I'm taking, if I manage to take any at all. And I want to have good photos. So I'm pondering solutions to that problem (both for better lighting and more time). I've been baking quite a bit--really!--and I want to get back to sharing those things here. If you have any good suggestions about what works for you, I'd love to hear them!