I have been baking A LOT during the past couple of weeks. I baked so much that Drew asked if I got bit by a baking bug. I blame it on the snow.

We woke up with snow on the ground on Wednesday, January 18th. It snowed the whole day on Wednesday and Thursday. By Friday, we had about 5-6 inches of snow. UW campus was closed from Wednesday to Friday. Drew and I got to work from home on those days. By Saturday, the snow on the roads was almost all gone. A lot of people at work said that they got cabin fever. I love snow days. But, I think the hardest part for us getting to work from home for 3 days was our needy cat, Simon, who wanted to be on one of our laps the whole time we were working. It was kind of cute at first. But after a day, we both were telling each other, “It’s your turn to take Simon.”

Actually, I can’t really blame it on the snow. I started baking the weekend after my last post. That weekend, I baked the apple sharlotka from Smitten Kitchen. (Thanks to Mel for turning me on to this site!) Then, the weekend before it snowed, I baked 4 small loaves of the potato rosemary bread because I thought I hadn’t baked bread for a really long time. Then, I made the red wine chocolate cake from Smitten Kitchen because it sounded interesting. I made them into bite sized cakes instead. However, Drew told me that I should not bake these again since it was hard to eat just one. Then, I was jonesing for scones… and I was thinking about how wonderful the pear and pepper bread from Macrina bakery was. Mmmm…Pepper and pear, they go so well together. So, I whipped up some pear and pepper scones. I just took a scone recipe I had, and added a chopped pear and some pepper. This recipe still needs to be perfected; so, I’m not going to share with you just yet. The batch I made was too wet. The scones were flat and not really flaky. But pear and pepper combination is definitely a keeper.

Last weekend, I was thinking about a chocolate bread I made a few years ago. It’s not one of those quick bread. It was a yeasted loaf of bread. This bread, while it baked, would fill your house with an intoxicating chocolate aroma. The bread was not sweet. It was a loaf of bread with a hint of chocolate, and was great as a toast. I searched online and found that David Lebovitz had a post about a chocolate bread. I am also a fan of David’s blog (because he lives in Paris! And every time I read his blogs, it makes me miss Paris so very much.). So, I baked that. Then, I kept reading his blog and ran into his cornmeal cookies post. I love cornmeal cookies, and I thought, “Oooo, I can make that with the dried apricot that I’ve been trying to get rid of.” So, I also baked his cornmeal cookies with dried apricot. I’m not really a fan of dried apricot, but the combination of cornmeal and apricot gave out this wonderful smell that make the cookies irresistible.

Last but not least, we had a potluck at work last Wednesday and I thought I would bring a red wine chocolate cake. But really, I wanted to test the cake with other types of wine. The first time I baked it, it was with a Bordeaux. So this time, I made it with a Côtes du Rhône. When it came out of the oven, I thought it didn’t look quite right. I think I whipped the butter and the sugar too long. So, I baked it again with a Carmenere from Chili. Among the 3 types of wine, the Carmenere added a hint of spice to the cake. You could taste the wine and cocoa, and the cake turned out the least sweet. The cake was most sweet with Côtes du Rhône. But between the Bordeaux batch and the Côtes du Rhône batch, they were not much difference. I think the cake would be great with any wine you choose, but what makes the cake even more outstanding is to have it with blood oranges.

So there, that’s all I’ve done since I posted the last blog. I am thankful to have co-workers that like what I bake because most of what I listed here went to work. And now, I must tend to the walnut apricot bread that has been proofing in the oven for 2 hours. I promise that I will let you know how these turn out.