I’ve come to realize something about myself-when I am having a hard time with my art work, either technically or creatively, I tend to find solace in baking.  Maybe because baking is more exact, you have a recipe and you have to follow it precisely to get good results.  I’ve had some hits and misses to be sure, mostly because it took me awhile to realize you can’t wing it with baking like you might with cooking.  If the recipe calls for room temperature butter, then it had better be room temperature butter.

One of my favorite things in the world is a blueberry scone and awhile back I thought I should learn how to make them, instead of always buying them at Starbucks. After some trial and error, (and following the recipes accurately), I have had success.  Then last week, I made the yummiest little tarts for a get-together I was invited to, using refrigerator pie crust, cream cheese and frozen raspberries.  The recipe is from Catherine McCord’s website http://weelicious.com/2011/02/08/raspberry-cream-cheese-heart-tarts. Very simple, very little measuring and not much room for error.  Just combine the raspberries and softened cream cheese to make the filling, cut heart shapes out of the dough, place a dollop of filling on one heart, top it with another heart, prick the top, press the dough with a fork and brush a little cream on top, then bake at 400 degrees for about twenty minutes.  I also filled some with chocolate chunks, which were even easier and so delicious.  I iced the tarts, but they’d be good with just a little sparkling sugar.

HeartsIngred  DoughCutter  HeartsFilling (1)HeartTarts  HeartsIced

I love this refrigerator pie crust.  Since making these little hearts, I’ve used it with an apple filling and a large round cookie cutter for little hand pies.  No, I’m not eating all of these treats, but happily sharing them with family and snowbound neighbors.

I’m now back to work on some art, so I guess this distraction helps in a way, getting away for a bit.  I wonder how others deal with a creative block when it strikes.

Makin’ the Donuts

Since the New Year, I’ve been in a homebody, domestic mode-cleaning, organizing, cooking…and baking.  That’s something I have a love/hate relationship with.  Maybe it’s the precise nature of baking, having to accurately measure out the ingredients, or my low expectations that come through, but my results when I bake have been less than stellar.  Never-the-less, I was craving a donut this morning, but did not want to go out to the store in the cold rain.  After an internet search, I found RetroDinnerDiva’s recipe for 20-minute donut holes from scratch.  Just what I was looking for.  I had all the ingredients, the recipe didn’t seem complicated, so I went right to it.  Well, as promised, they were easy and they were quick and they were perfect.  I sprinkled some with cinnamon sugar and some in confectioners sugar, but they were tasty plain too.  Thanks Stephanie at http://www.retrodinnerdiva.wordpress.com.  Check out her blog for some great recipes, tips and humor.  A cup of tea and these little bites (not too many) cheered me up on such a dreary day!