Being a member of one particular book group requires that each member host a meeting every two years. The alternate year's (of the two-year cycle) requirement is to do a review of a recent book. Last year, I did my first review since joining, but this year the obligation was to host, and I chose to host in October.
Once again, I decided to make something I had never made before, actually two somethings. To back up a bit, generally, my husband and I cook relatively simple meals, and we try to avoid the high calorie desserts. Unfortunately, a dessert or two is what is expected of the hostess, and many of the spreads by fellow members tend to be somewhat gourmet in nature.
So, I chose to make three dessert-like items for the meeting. The first was banana bread, and I've made it frequently enough that I knew that it would be sufficient if the other choices didn't turn out. While not necessarily gourmet and not necessarily dessert, this recipe for banana bread is very moist, very tasty in my opinion.
Second, I chose to make two other desserts that I had never made before. The first of these was a recipe for mini-apple pies. Of course, I chose an alternative crust (okay I used Pillsbury already-made pie crusts), and decided to follow the recipe substitution of making a chunky applesauce as filler. I made the applesauce mixture the day before I planned on baking the pies. Even after peeling and slicing the apples into chunks, it still took me about twice as long to cook down the apples as indicated on the recipe. That should have been my first clue; however, undaunted, I persevered. The following day, as advertised, according to the recipe, preparing the crust from scratch and then filling the mini-pies should take fifteen minutes. Baking them takes about eight to ten minutes. Well, the baking part is accurate, but even with the use of prepared pie crusts, the prep time was at least twice that long. And of course, I had forgotten that I had let someone borrow my ginger so I didn't have quite enough as was called for. As a result, I had to fuss with the recipe's ingredients a bit (added some cinnamon), but they turned out okay.
The other recipe was a one-layer cake called a Sour Cream Cookie Cake from my Better Homes and Garden cookbook. Again, I had never made it, but the picture in the book looked great and I knew it was a tested recipe. Of course, I made some modifications to it by buying prepared icing, but the biggest modification occurred when I realized that my mixer's beaters had gone missing-in-action. I had gathered the ingredients together (the sour cream, the flour, the baking powder and baking soda, the cookies, the egg, etc.) and grabbed my mixer from its place of storage. But the beaters weren't with it as they generally are. No matter, I thought. I just figured they'd been put in a drawer. I went through one drawer after another, but to no avail. I grew frantic in my search, using a few choice words along the way (okay a lot of them). Minutes ticked into what seemed like hours; however, they were not to be found anywhere.
Of course, in retrospect, I suppose I could have scrapped the idea of serving this. But no, I decided to make it anyway. By the way, the recipe does give an alternative to using a mixer, and that is the use of a food processor. I had one once, but no longer. So without a mixer (and hand-mixing would not have sufficed for this), what to do, how to mix? I used my blender instead. Not the best choice, but it worked, messily, and not as elegantly or effectively as a mixer. Not only that, but I did it twice to be sure that I had enough cake for the group. Once would have been enough.
The cake tasted fine although, I must admit, the photo in the book looked better. Again, the prep time took longer than expected not even counting the lost hour spent searching for beaters that have now been replaced. I have two years to prepare for the next event. With only a book to report on to stress about in the meantime.
Truly, it could have been a recipe for disaster. And, of course, my husband and I are still eating the leftovers.
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association