Thursday, December 27, 2012

JennyBakes Reflects on 2012

International Baking
Thousand Layers Cake

2012 started out with a bang, and huge aspirations.  I participated in the Around the World in 2012 Books challenge in GoodReads, and I thought maybe I'd bake something from each country I read a book from.  Great idea, but I only ended up making twelve recipes.  These were some of the most inspired baking moments from my year, so let's relive the lot:
I ended up reading books from 47 countries in 2012, and seem to have acquired at least that many more books.  I'll keep exploring the world of books unread and baked goods/desserts unmade.  I'll be focusing more of my energy on a similar Around the USA reading challenge in 2013, and you guessed it - I will be attempting to do more regional American baking.  Please let me know if you have any favorite regional recipes, because I do not yet have something for each location.

I have a good start on my Around the USA Baking board in Pinterest, so check it out and tell me what you think I'm missing.

Bakery Visits

The highlight this year has to be having a croissant from Sarafina's on St. Martin.  That is as close as I have come to France so far!  I visited a cupcake truck in Dallas and a German bakery in Alabama, but wasn't out seeing a lot of places selling baked goods this year.  The next section will explain.

Cutting Out Sugar (Wait, What?)

This year saw some major changes to my baking habits.  My husband and I went super low-sugar mid-January, eliminating many of the ingredients I took for granted in baking.  It could have been depressing, but I decided to use my powers for good.  I mean, I'm a baker, so this could open up a world of new ingredients and flavors.  Many of my experiments did not even make it into the blog, especially several misunderstandings with coconut flour (not an easy one!), but I found a few recipes that made our new way of eating more bearable.  If you are diabetic, limiting carbs, or just looking for lighter options, I'd highly recommend trying one of the following:
The Best of 2012

I still managed to do quite a bit of "real" baking, despite the limitations.  My favorite recipes of the year (you won't believe how many have caramel as a component):

1. Slice

I resisted salted caramel.  Everyone kept raving about this cake, so I made it for my birthday and it is AMAZING.  A must try.  Martha, I take back anything bad I ever said about your recipes.

2. Salted Caramel Apple Crumb Bars

Sensing a theme?  These made my co-workers very, very happy.

3.Two candies I made during the holidays - Gingerbread Caramels and Microwave Toffee.  One was a lot of work, one was super easy.  I might repeat both next year.

So I end 2012 a convert to caramel, even salted caramel, and lighter on my feet.  I'll think for a few days on what I want 2013 to hold in the baking arena, and post again.  Happiest of new years to you all!

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