Monday, 29 October 2012

Work/Life Balance and Lemon Sugar Cookies

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Life has been manic lately.  I know every third post for the last two years has probably started that way, but this time it's really true (or maybe life just gets more and more manic as we get older, and manic takes on a whole new meaning every year??  Oh god, I hope not...).  Anyway, work has gotten increasingly more intense, and as of next week I'm going to be working in the office every day (as opposed to my current schedule of half-in, half-out), and things with the book are heating up too – the relevance of all these facts to you lovely sweet-toothed readers is that posting may be a bit sparse in the coming months.  I'll definitely do my best, as this little corner of the internets is one of my favorite places to spend that in-between time (not quite free, as in time to stuff my face and watch Downton Abbey, but not quite work, as in bust my butt and get paid a little bit for it), but these days I have little time to bake, and even littler daytime to photograph.

Nonetheless, we all know I'm not going to stop baking altogether, and between my usual stress-baking tendencies and the fact that we're doing our own Thanksgiving over here this year, there should still be plenty of fodder for posts.  But you may have to forgive me if I'm not super creative; when I'm stressed and pressed for time, all I want to do is throw together something I'm pretty sure will taste good.

And that was the plan with these cookies.  Lemon + sugar + butter = obvious choice.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Falling into Nostalgia Again: Apple Spice Cookies

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One of the times I miss the US most is the first week of fall, when that first bite hits the air in the mornings and people start pulling out scarves and boots from the backs of their closets and the leaves haven't quite turned yet but you can tell they will be soon.  This time of year always brings the nostalgia pretty hard, and usually I cope with it by taking long walks in the park with the BF, stopping for coffee and a snuggle, and, of course, baking.

This year, the BF just happens to be abroad – back in the States, actually – for a sort of med-student study-abroad program.  I've been handling the separation pretty well, due mostly to being run off my feet with work, book stuff, and general back-from-vacation admin, but when the leaves started turning I did start to pine a bit (no pun intended).  Still, I was determined not to mope (or eat my feelings any more than I'm already wont to do); I may not be able to take long, chilly walks with my guy, but I can still bake, dang it!

Monday, 1 October 2012

I Made A Real, Frosted, Layered Birthday Cake (and It Only Took Two Attempts and About a Million Eggs...)!

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Last Friday my company had a 'wine and cakes' party in our department, celebrating the first birthday of the imprint I work for.  Now, as someone who often brings homemade baked goods in to the office, I expected to be asked to make something, which I was happy to do.  What I didn't expect was being volunteered to bake a birthday cake, which to most people might just mean a cake but which translated in my head to many-layered cake of wonder with homemade icing and decoration, which is something I'd yet to attempt.  Still, I figured it would be a good opportunity to try something new (namely, making a fancy icing). 
But then two things happened to make the plans much more stressful.  The first was that my friend Tess, who works in the marketing department, asked me to use a recipe from one of our books, which wouldn't in itself be a problem but I had been hoping to use a tried-and-tested American recipe, or at least one with tons of online reviews – of course I agreed, though.  And the second thing was that my very well-meaning friends 'bigged up' my baking in a company-wide email.  And of course, as we all know, there's nothing like a little outside pressure to make a cake fall flat.