When in doubt, close your eyes, open up Baking: From My Home to Yours and make whatever you see. Trust me on this one, Dorie wouldn’t steer you wrong and neither would I. No matter what you choose, it will be good. Don’t be afraid to make something you wouldn’t usually or to try something new. This extends beyond baking to all eating adventures. Trying something new won’t hurt you, especially if it’s something I suggest. Although I may be biased, I think everyone should heed my food suggestions. Ideally I’d have each one of you sitting in front of me and I would force you to take a bite of whatever I was making, whether you thought you’d like it or not. In fact, I would be even more impressed if you tried it even if you were confident that you would hate it. I won’t ever be offended if you don’t like something new, (well, maybe a little) but I will be offended if you refuse to at least take a little bite.
It always amazes me when a friend tells me they’ve never tasted certain foods that I consider common, (like grapefruit or mango!). And it frustrates me to no end when people say they never try anything new because they’re happy with their old standbys. If you tell me you don’t try new things I will make it my mission to corrupt your flawed way of thinking and sway you over to the dark, er, tasty side. It thrills me to no end to be the person who introduces others to a novel flavour or texture. I love watching their face as they bite into something unknown and the surprised look on their face as they discover they actually like what I’ve given them. How could anyone not delight in standing over the kitchen sink, sucking on a mango pit with juice running down their arms? And how could you forget the first time you bit into a hot sesame bun, only to realize that the inside is not “light and cakey” but rather chewy and bursting with sweet red bean? What about your first sushi experience when you’re shocked to realize that not only do you like sushi, (which was previously believed to be icky) but you like sashimi even better than the westernized California roll. Once you start listening to me you’ll be asking yourself life altering questions like: Why have I been eating greasy fast food chicken when I could have been eating a delicious, freshly made chicken empanada, at no additional cost and requiring no additional time? Yes folks, I have the power to change lives.
If you’d like to try something new and start to change your life for the better, any of these recipes are a good beginning.
Classic Brownies, Page 88: I added a smidge of espresso powder because I’m currently loving it in all things chocolate.
Granola Grabbers, Page 82: I didn’t have almonds so I subbed in some skor toffee bits. I also didn’t have the full quantity of raisins that were required so I topped it off with craisins.
Ginger Jazzed Brownies, Page 101: Despite the lavender in the picture, there is none in the brownies, these are chocolate and ginger through and through.
Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart, Page 355: There was nothing I could do to improve this tart, it was fabulous. And although I don’t have a photo to go along with it, the Soft Chocolate Raspberry Tart from the opposite page is also quite lovely.