Life as a PhD student at MIT isn't easy. Endless problem sets, exams, sponsor visits and committee meetings result in many sleepless nights. Your research work becomes your life and you feel guilty for every moment spent not working.

One of my guilty pleasures is baking. Whenever I need to celebrate or drown my sorrows, which occurs frequently as a graduate student, I find a new recipe. Over the past couple of years, I have subjected many of my friends and neighbors to my concoctions. They haven't seen anything yet!

For Christmas, I received the Flour cookbook. For those of you who don't know what Flour is, I feel sorry for you. Flour is a fantastic bakery and cafe located close to MIT. I'll often stop off here on my way home after a bad day for a sweet, sugary pick-me-up.

After receiving the cookbook, I decided with all my copious free time (yeah right) that I was in need of another project. My mission is to bake every recipe from the Flour cookbook before I graduate. Now the race is on.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baking Showdown!

Cookies fresh from the oven.

What do you when someone challenges you to a baking showdown?  Well, if you are a PhD student, you start by analyzing the situation.  You think what recipe would give me the highest probability of winning?   How can I appeal to a wide audience?  Then, if you are me, you run to the Flour cookbook.
This is exactly what I did for the baking showdown that I was challenged to for the October Sidney-Pacific house meeting.  After deciding that I would want one chocolate baked good and one fruity baked good, I ran directly to the Flour cookbook.  After leafing through the pages, I settled on baking the chocolate chunk cookies from page 108 and the apricot almond tart from page 222.  
They were definitely a winning combination!  The cookies were just fantastic, the right amount of crunchiness and chewiness.  The tart was phenomenal!  By now I've baked a lot of items from the book, and this is my second favorite (after the cranberry & pear crostata).  Definitely a winner that I'll be making again!    
So, you are probably all wondering....  Did Amy win the showdown?  Actually, we decided to just bake together rather than compete against each other...  It's more fun baking with friends anyway. 

The apricot-almond tart...

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