20 Days of Happiness Part 4 – Baking

There’s a scene in A Muppet Family Christmas where Ernie and Burt (from Sesame Street) have a conversation with Doc (from Fraggles) and Ernie and Burt can’t help pointing out what letter every word begins with.  “Bunk beds: B words!” they say as Ernie chortles.  When Doc looks at them askance they explain, “Where we come from, this is small talk.”  My sister once said that the scene reminded her of our family — except that complaining, not letters, are our family’s small talk.  It’s not that we are unhappy people.  We just like to air our grievances.  But sometimes it’s good to air positive feelings too and that’s just what I plan to do.  For my next 17 posts, I’ll focus on the many reasons I have to be happy.

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HAVE CUPCAKES, WILL TRAVEL

I feel fortunate that my parents started letting me help out in the kitchen as soon as I was able to stand on a step stool by the stove.  Before I was even able to do that, I started baking with my aunt.  My first contributions mainly involved dumping buckets of sprinkles on Christmas cookies, but I soon moved on to measuring, mixing, rolling and cutting.  By the time my sister and I were in high school, our annual Christmas cookie baking was a weekend long marathon at my aunt’s house where we turned out batch after batch.  Family, friends and neighbors would send their empty tins and we would send them back stuffed with a dozen varieties of cookies — or more.

Sharing baked goods with friends and family remains one of my favorite things.  So when my firm had an employee-family potluck recently, I was first in line to bring a dessert.  Sharing with omnis calls for tried and true recipes, so I turned to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.

Even though it’s 80 degrees here in L.A., I wanted something autumn-y, so I started with a batch of Apple Cider Cupcakes.  These were a bit of a fail because they sunk like souffles when I took them out of the oven.  Since they still tasted good, I filled in the sunken area with vanilla butter-cream that I jazzed up with a bit of cinnamon.  I also wanted a cupcake that would be enjoyed by picky eaters, so I made a batch of banana cupcakes (the Banana Split Cupcakes without any of the mix-ins) and topped them with chocolate butter-cream.

As I was getting ready to plate some cupcakes to photograph them, I thought of this post from Panda with Cookie.  Sadly, I didn’t have a block of wood, so I just left the cupcakes in their carrier, snapped a photo and hit the road.  That’s apple cider on top and banana chocolate on the bottom.  Interestingly, people loved how the apple cupcakes were “filled” with frosting — so my baking fail turned into a baking success.  (As for my awkward food photography, you be the judge).

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