However, since 'retiring' from my life as an engineer, and consequently assuming the life-long role of 'mommy'.. I have found I have a real JOY for baking. like.. REAL JOY. like.. my house is imploding from hostile laundry-takeover and the kids are jumping to and from the couches well over 4 feet apart. on hardwoods. and yet... this happy HUM comes over me as I hear, smell, and taste my way through another baked creation. JOY, I tell you.
But I'm an engineer! not a baker! no.. I'm a mommy! but the baking! ohhh the baking.... SO yeah. so what if I'm in my upper thirties and just now figuring out what I want to be when I grow up? chalk it up to a good old fashioned identity crisis, right?
At any rate, I've really been making a concerted effort lately to dig in and get to know others that operate (either by hobby or profession) in the trade of baking. I've begun following new blogs, connecting with other Twitters (twitterers? tweeters? twits??)... anyways.. I've been meeting new folks. and this is GOOD! cause WOW! the TALENT that exists out there is AMAZING!!!
One of the best things that has come of this new venture into discovering me is that I found out about a contest. Now y'all KNOW I love a good contest! I'm always trying to score stuff from Erin Cooks, and that Bakerella's always hosts contests I can't pass up. But THIS, people. this is different.
THIS.. is a CHALLENGE.
Can you BELIEVE I've never entered a baking challenge before? I KNOW! so with my new ice cream maker attachment in hand.. I knew it was a sure sign I had to pop my proverbial cherry and enter.
And seriously. cupcakes? and ice cream? together? booyakasha! I was SO down for that!
Now, the PLANNER in me had a TON of flavor combinations I wanted to do... but the PROCRASTINATOR in me waited til the VERY LAST few days to even begin creating something to qualify as an entry. So... upon finding the super-easy-my-kid-could-do-it ice cream recipe, I decided to go with something of the coconut persuasion.
I am SO HAPPY I DID.
First of all.. this recipe I found for Coconut cupcakes is AMAZING! I'll do a full post on the cupcakes soon, but go ahead and check it out (when you're done reading this post, of course! no need to hurry off now, ya hear?) NUTMEG! using nutmeg added such a GREAT layer to the flavor of the cake... oh! seriously the best coconut cake I've had in like.. a LONG time.
it took me a few dozen cupcakes to REALLY figure out the proper amount to put in the liners (so as to leave enough room for the ice cream, and the ALL-important crunch layer) Turns out this a mistake I did not mind.
Oh.. and I had NO LUCK with my silicone flower pan. I thought I'd be cute with a flower-shaped cupcake? nope. wrecked the first two trying to release the cakes. then decided to eat the others out of spite. oh.. the things I put up with for the sake of art!
Now that I had the cupcake portions made and the ice cream made.. it was time to make the magic happen. Now, I COULD have just slapped the two together and called it good. or GOOD-GOOD cause coconut cupcake? GOOD. coconut ice cream? GOOD. But this is my first challenge, and I wanted to do it right. and besides.. what's a ice cream cake without a crunch layer? that's right.... these cupcakes needed some crunch.
So even though y'all KNOW I can make my own graham crackers.. I went ahead and used some good ole Scooby Bones. and how could I not? I mean.. just LOOK at Scoob! Even HE seems to be giving me a secret smile letting me know I'm on to something good here.
I crushed the 'bones' up, mixed with sugar and butter, then baked the pressed-down mix in the oven. cause YES.. I wanted the crunch layer even SWEETER and BUTTERIER (is that a word?) than the regular grahams.
Topped the cupcakes with the crumbled graham cracker crust, then topped that with the coconut ice cream. (yes, a few are missing from the pan, since I wanted to test the cupcakes. I wasn't sure if baking such a small amount would dry out the cake.. but I was pleased to find out that even that little layer of cake was moist and delicious!)
After those set, I topped with a simple whipped cream. store-bought, at that, cause you know.. deadlines and all. I used my piping bag to make up for the lack of home-made, if that earns me any points back!
once they had time to freeze a little more, I began the picture taking.
Ladies and Gentlemen.. I give you...
It's a cupcake! no, it's ice cream! but it's got a pie crust! and whipped cream! Do I eat it with a fork? a spoon? my hands? aaaah!! I'm so confused!
Yes.. to pay tribute to my very own identity crisis... I offer you an identity crisis in food form. and GOOD FOOD FORM IT IS!
My husband Troy tried them, and agreed with me that these are in the "holy Mother#*&%er these are Mother#*&%ing GOOD" category. but we like coconut. we could be biased.
YOU, however, my readers, are not! (ok.. maybe one or two of you are, and that's totally cool with me!) ACTUALLY, I'm counting on a FEW of you to be biased and tune in later this week so you can VOTE FOR ME so I can win this challenge.
If you're curious, you can check out the blogs of the co-hosts of the contest... Cupcake Project and Scoopalicious. then, of course, tell them how great I am. and that I deserve to win. or.. you know.. maybe just vote for me once (or twice or like 20 times. )
At any rate.. this was SO MUCH FUN to do!! SO glad I took on the challenge of a challenge, and I totally look forward to doing another one. but maybe next month or something. I'm so full of coconut right now, it's a little hard to move.. much less bake.