Each week our church family comes together, makes a meal together, and shares a discussion over that meal. Each person signs up for a different course or ingredient so that the burden doesn't fall onto one person. It's possible because we're a small group that meets in a house (also, we're part of a larger church network for anyone who may be feeling freaked out by the idea of a "home church" :). However, the point of this post is not about my church or it's logistics, rather it is about food.
Since we've begun making a meal together each week, my confidence in the kitchen has grown. We've had food themes that push me outside of my comfort zone; sometimes I fail and sometimes I nail it. Luckily for me, everyone is gracious and loving in my attempts at new dishes.
This confidence has encouraged me to branch out and try all kinds of recipes. I found a fun homemade Ding Dong recipe via Pinterest and wanted to give it a shot. I followed the directions well, but ran into some serious trouble with the whipped cream filling. I just could NOT get it to whip and create "stiff peaks". In fact, I was able to achieve a nice top layer of whipped cream, but hidden beneath was a liquidy bummer.
After a brief emotional breakdown (I blame pregnancy hormones), I resolved to find a solution. This lead me to buttercream frosting. My friend Ali has a super delicious homemade recipe and it was the first thing that came to my mind. Hers is pretty fancy (she is a professional baker, after all), so I Googled, "vanilla buttercream frosting". A simple recipe from Savory Sweet Life came up and I had all of the ingredients in my pantry (bonus!).
The frosting was SUPER easy to make and it was really delicious. I was so satisfied with the way that it turned out, and stoked by the fact that my Ding Dongs were not ruined! I filled my little cocoa cakes with this buttery goodness and proceeded to cover them with chocolate. More than just making a yummy dessert, I'm proud that I was able to overcome adversity in the kitchen. It may sound lame, but I thought I wasn't going to be able to save the cakes when the cream wouldn't whip.
Here are some things I learned from both recipes:
- I feel like there was a funny after taste and I can't tell if it was the pureed dates or if my vanilla extract went bad.
- Make sure you have ALL of the ingredients before you begin. I had to go to the store several times because I missed a few things.
- Follow the instructions - they are easy and it pays off in the end.
You can find the full recipes and all photos from the links above.