so, i have a small pile of TAs (usually 6 to 8 of them, depending on the semester), and they’re all pretty awesome. i’ve gotten in the habit of baking for each of them when it’s their birthday, and i usually do my standby recipes… things like pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes, or chocolate snickerdoodles, or i don’t know, whatever is delicious and vegan and easy to eat without utensils. generally speaking, whatever i bring goes over well, and i just chalk it up to some fun baketivism.
a couple of weeks ago, i learned that one of my TAs is trying to be gluten-free, and that struck fear into my heart, a little bit. i have never baked gluten-free, which means that all of my old standbys are no longer valid options, and i wasn’t even sure where to start. worse yet, this particular TA’s birthday was up first! yikes.
of course, in the hectic lead-up to the beginning of the semester, i had WAY too many things going on at once, and i didn’t really have time to plan too far ahead for this one. and every time i looked at a GF recipe and thought, “oooh! that looks good!” i’d realize it included like five different types of flour i don’t have in my house, and i’d sigh and move on to the next one. i was starting to get desperate, combing the internet for tasty-looking vegan GF recipes that only included ingredients already in my pantry, when i finally found one:
peanut butter fudge with chocolate drizzle. looks easy enough, i thought! piece of cake! but then i read the instructions and i started to worry, what with all the “measure absolutely everything out in advance” and the “work very quickly once you get going” and “boil for exactly two minutes” and so forth. but by then, it was 9pm on the night before, and i had to just suck it up and figure it out. i had never made true fudge (i.e., boiling on the stove-top fudge) before, so i was pretty nervous, but it all seemed to go well, at least initially.
once i poured it in the pan to firm up, i started to fret. it seemed “oily” looking, and i was worried that it wasn’t going to set up properly. when i googled, i only became more distressed, because apparently “fudge failure” is a very common phenomenon. i vented on twitter and crossed my fingers and waited. eventually, it really did seem like it was setting up, except there was still some oil on the top… i decided maybe my natural peanut butter was to blame, and i did the greasy-pizza-trick and just blotted with a paper towel a bit. that seemed to do the trick.
once i was fairly certain it was set, i drizzled the chocolate (i only needed about half of what the recipe called for; i saved the rest for a future ice cream sundae, heh), and covered the pan for the night. the next morning, i sliced it into wee pieces (it was super sweet and rich, so i didn’t want to go overboard) and took it to school for my staff meeting.
it actually went over really, really well! either they are all just super polite, or my first foray into GF desserts was not an utter failure. hooray! i’m looking forward to building up my pantry of flours, so that i can be a little more adventurous next time (like cookies or cupcakes)… if anyone has favorite go-to crowd-pleasing recommendations, i’m all ears! hit me up in the comments!