baking with joy

A two-fold meaning. First, of course, that baking brings me great joy. (Okay, that's really  barf-inducing. I'm picturing myself dancing around the kitchen with unicorns and rainbows. Just…no.) Second, I'm baking with Joy the Baker! Even though I don't really make a lot of sweet stuff, I still follow her blog because she's so dang cute and funny and talented and inspirational and all those things that make reading someone's blog worthwhile. And there it was, in last Thursday's post. A challenge. A baking bootcamp in partnership with King Arthur Flour. Who could resist? Especially since there are PRIZES! A chance for MORE STUFF! YAY! Even if I didn't win (like I EVER win ANYthing), I'd still end up with a spiffy dessert for Memorial Day, when Mr. SDS–who's into barbecue like I'm into baking–planned on smoking a brisket.

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So there I was in the kitchen at 6 this morning (early riser), taking on the challenge. As Joy did in her post, I decided to do everything by hand. I managed not to leave anything out, drop stuff, or break things (it's been that kind of week) although I did end up spilling the egg wash. But I did get to break out Big Boy, my ginormo rolling pin. Definitely overkill but still…it's a cool rolling pin. STUFF! (We used them to make croissants–in my artisan bread course at ICC and of course, I had to have one.) The dough rolled out very nicely (naturally, in my best anal-retentive fashion I tried to square up the corners–insert eyeroll here), I spread out the filling and dotted it with berries. And then came the tricky part–rolling up the dough, cutting and twisting it. And go me! I didn't completely FUBAR it! Those berries definitely tried to escape but I managed to tuck them in and ended up with a pretty decent looking twist. And I finally had an excuse to use my cake lifter/giant spatula, another gadget I HAD to have. Because one never knows when one–especially one who does not actually BAKE cakes–will need to LIFT a cake and one must be prepared. But here was the perfect opportunity, because the whole berry-filled, twisty dough ring needed to be picked up and placed ever so gently in a cast-iron pan and I had already dropped and broken two things this past week and doing this by hand did not bode well for success. The cake lifter made it look like a…piece of cake (snort).

And 25-30 minutes later (I think mine could have gone a teensy bit longer), TA DA! Out came this beautiful, puffed up, berried, cinnamon-y swirl of sweet bread that was a thing of beauty and joy. I topped it with a heavy sprinkling of confectioners sugar and had the decency to hold off eating a big hunk of it before I could take photos to upload to Instagram for the challenge.

The verdict? Swoon worthy. The dough and filling have just the right touch of sweetness and the berries are bright and refreshing. Definitely a keeper. (I think next time, I may add a sprinkling of sparkling sugar, for a bit of crunch.)

So thank you Joy, for a great recipe and a fun challenge. I really had a blast and loved sharing my results and seeing what everyone else has done. (Who's gonna win? I AM! I AM!) Definitely looking forward to the rest of Baking Bootcamp!