I had a big baking night the other night, and now I can tell you about it, because the surprise-ee was completely surprised.
When someone is leaving church staff for greener pastures, we usually do a couple of things - we arrange to pray for them in Sunday services, and we usually have some sort of party/meal/something.
Well. On Thursday, my co-workers and most of their spouses/kids/grandkids pretty much kidnapped our departing youth pastor and took him to the beach for a picnic (plus all that beachy junk like building sand castles, swimming, poking dead stuff, reapplying sunscreen.) The weather was beautiful, and the trip was quite grand.
(Until I locked the keys in the minivan after dark, but that's a different story. Even that worked out fine, actually.)
My contributions to the picnic were (oh, guess:) .....right, desserts.
1. Brownies (from a mix, nothing to get excited about, which is not to say people didn't enjoy them - in fact, they were the first thing to disappear.)
2. Macaroons, but baked in one huge square. I didn't know if these would work out, but the top and bottom did brown up nicely. (Recipe another time, I promise.)
Flapjack: This did not come out - they didn't hold together at all, so people scooped up handfuls and kind of poured the loose chunks into their mouths. (This works okay on the beach; it would not be so great in someone's carpeted living room.) I do believe the linked recipe is wrong. It needs more sticky stuff. This (when it's good) is the favorite dessert of The New Guy; a traditional British baked good comprised of rolled oats, butter, and cane syrup. I wrote about my earlier misadventures with flapjack on this blog, but I'll be darned if I can find it now.
4. Shortbread: This came out great. I followed this recipe except I spread the whole recipe-worth of dough/batter into a square pan. After chilling and scoring, I baked it at 350 for about 30-40 minutes, until it started to turn just the lightest, most delicate shade of brown.
I tasted a bite, and decided that it was so good it needed some chocolate - so I melted about a quarter cup of semi-sweet chips, a tablespoon of butter, and a scant teaspoon of instant espresso powder.
[Melting chocolate in the microwave: put everything in a bowl and nuke for 30 seconds. It won't look any different. Remove from micro and stir with a fork for 30 seconds. Nuke and stir again as needed. It's hard to screw this up.]
I spread that in a thin layer over the baked, cooled shortbread.
It was super. Even after it got some sand on it.