I’m almost ready for Cupcake Wars…

I love to bake, but I don’t do it very often.  I usually only bake for an occassion or a holiday.  However, I’ve been watching a lot of baking shows and eating a lot of overpriced cupcakes lately and I got an urge to start baking. 

I also picked up this snazzy little tool on sale over the weekend. 

Of course, I had to use it the second I got it home.  So I decided to whip up some peanut butter and jelly cupcakes…

I used a vanilla cake recipe that I’d never tried before and I thought they were a little dry.  I filled them with raspberry preserves and topped them with a chocolate peanut butter frosting.  Aside from the dry cake, they were pretty good.  I brought them to work and the disappeared quickly.  Everyone said they tasted like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches…which is what I was trying to do.  Now I just have to work on my frosting technique…

I also made J some mini cupcakes with a simple chocolate frosting. 

These came out really dry.  I think I might have overcooked them.  Ooops.  J’s been eating them anyway, but he has reminded me each time that they are too dry. 

Last night I decided to try something a little more difficult.  I made macarons. 

If you’ve never had them…they are sort of like meringue cookies, except they have almond flour in them, so they are a little more dense.  They are so good…crispy and chewy and really light.  The white one are filled with Nutella and the pink ones with raspberry.  They were work and they take a long time to make because you have to let them set between mixing and baking.  But they are worth the work.  Especially since they are supposedly really expensive to buy.  UPDATE: Here is a link to the recipe I followed.  It’s got pictures of every step and it’s really easy to follow.

I’ve been bringing everything in to work because I can’t have all these sweets in my house while I’m trying to diet.  I’ve been getting pretty positive reactions from everyone.  One of my co-workers just ate a cookie and called me and said “Mmmmmm” and then hung up.  That is my favorite part of baking…watching everyone enjoy the goodness.

J’s going out tonight so I’m going to be home alone and I’m trying to decide what to whip up next.  I think I might try Salt’s chocolate chip cookies.  Any other suggestions?