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tkerby

Baking for colleagues

10 posts in this topic

I started a new job last Summer at an electronics firm and was pleased to discover my colleagues often brought in home baking. Joining in, I appear to have started the baking wars with some fierce competition between bakers to win over the taste use of the rest of the office. The scores are level and I'm looking to up my game (and play with my new stand mixer). What are your favourite recipes to share at work?

So far we have had

From me - spelt & ginger cookies, oatmeal & sour cherry cookies and a pound cake

From others - carrot cake, barabrith, chocolate Guinness cake and a sponge cake

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I've had great reviews with: personally-sized lemon cornmeal shortcakes topped with fresh fruit coulis (the recipe for the cake is in the RecipeGullet; any fruit preparation you like will work beautifully with it). Those are crazy-easy if you've got individual-sized moulds to cook 'em in.

Also got thumbses-upses for Death By Chocolate Zucchini Cake volcanes filled with rich milk-chocolate and mint ganache, simple chewy oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, and since nobody where I worked was allergic to much of anything, Cup-O-Everything cookies (that recipe is in the Christmas Cookies thread). Closer to Christmas, individual cubes of Nova Scotia Black Fruitcake go over really really well.

If you're at all into yeast breadmaking, you can also try mini cinnamon buns in sticky caramel, hot cross buns, and filled brioches.


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Some of the favorites from my non-professional cooking days were from Maida Heatter's books - the California Fruit Bars (also the Pecan Bars version); the Oreo Sour Cream Cake (a white sour cream cake with chopped oreos - you pour some of the batter in the bundt pan, sprinkle in chopped oreos, put the rest of the batter in, then glaze with chocolate after cooling), her Bran Muffins (don't laugh, these are awesome. Use walnut halves, not chopped walnuts and use golden raisins.) for cookies, go for the Chocolate Gobs (Best American Desserts) or Mulattoes (her first book). Rose Levy Beranbaum's pecan tarts, hazelnut Linzer (try it with apricot jam intead of seedless raspberry, it's fantastic), the key lime pie from the bottle of Nellie and Joe's key lime juice....

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I've made the Sweet Salty Cake (Salty Caramel cake) from Baked New Frontiers in Baking, and it's a hot favourite.

Similarly, I've done the Apple Pie Cake from Momofuku Milk, which was also well received.

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Just about anything from Maida Heatter's books, any of the cookies from Nancy Baggett's International Cookie Cookbook, when I'm lazy it's brownies or blondies (minimal handling required), gingerbread (the cake type) or some sort of quickbread loaf. Lemon and poppyseed is a popular one.

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I've got a fairly sophisticated set of colleagues at present, but still, the classics with minor twists disappear the quickest, particularly those that might be a little sweeter than I really prefer. For example, brownies with dried sour cherries outperformed chocolate cookies with chili, because the chili was a step too far for some. Making things that home cooks rarely attempt impresses, even when they're super easy--saltines, for example, wow more than they ought because who makes crackers? And yeasted sweet treats with just a little extra twist--cinnamon roll baked as a braided coffee-cake twist gets more points than cinnamon rolls. Oh....I always get extra oohs and aahs if I grew some bit of the dessert myself--pears poached with pineapple sage, with bright red sage flowers from my yard are tasty and colorful and 'you grew this? wow!' adds quite a bit to the reception.

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I find that good fruit pies disappear the fastest. It's like people aren't used to them.

They aren't. They're used to pies with lots of filler and a bit of bland fruit, so a good fruit pie, even if the crust is not outstanding, will always be a winner. It's a tossup whether or not you get more bang for your buck with whole large pies, or with individual tarts.

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