It’s been a good year. (In my world, the year ends when Online Stopwatch announces the end of the last final exam of spring semester.) Sophomore year is a good year because people start discovering what they really love. I declared an Economics major, joined West Philly Swingers (third time’s the charm!), and mastered 20-second icing for my Christmas cookies.
It’s nice not to feel like this anymore:
Recently, a friend had lunch with one of his professors, and texted me that according to the professor, I’m doing “it” right. “Doing what right?” I asked. He explained that I pursue the things I’m really passionate about, like baking. “Why do you love baking so much?” he asked.
This Wednesday, I made a date with my cousin Marissa to bake gluten free cinnamon buns (our experience is pretty much summed up by this). As she melted butter in a saucepan of warm milk, she asked whether it was supposed to look so strange. “Yup”, I replied, “it’s because you’re melting lipids into something hydrophilic.” “Do you like baking so much because of the chemistry?” Marissa asked.
Why do I like baking so much? It is partly the chemistry; I’m loving Penn more and more, but I’d transfer to Harvard in a blink of an eye just to enroll in their famous food science course, From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science. It’s also partly about the art. As a kid, I was all about arts and crafts. I no longer scrounge cardboard boxes from the recycle to build secret hideouts, and I’m several years free of my origami phase, but baking satisfies my need to create.
But what I love most about baking—brace yourself for the cheese—is that dessert makes people happy. Pretty much all dessert makes people happy, from the Devils Food Cupcakes with Peppermint Swirl Icing I baked for a local shelter to the Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake I baked yesterday for my sister’s birthday. Forget carbon rings; it’s obvious that butter and sugar is the recipe for serotonin.
But some desserts have much more happy-power than others. And that brings me to the dessert of the day: Lemon Coconut Chick Pops. I’ve blogged about cake pops before, but just in case any of you weren’t totally and completely won over, I’ve made them cuter. I triple doggy dare you not to fall head over heels for these tiny little spheres of adorable. It’s like all the happy of a Chunky Monkey ice cream sundae and a Labrador retriever puppy rolled into one. Giving away these cake pops made my day several times over.
These cuties were inspired by the “Popstars” section of Bakerella, which features creations by cake pop artists all over the world. When my best friend from high school posted these Miyazaki-themed creature pops on her Tumblr, I knew we had to make them asap. We got a little sidetracked with the chicks, but we did make a bunch of the coal-bearing sprites from My Neighbor Totoro.
All of the cake pops are made from a lemon cake mix with vanilla frosting. For the Chick Pops, we used red heart sprinkles for the cockscombs. We found the candy eyes and the triangular sprinkles we used for the beaks and feet at Michael’s. After dipping each pop in yellow candy melt, we affixed all of the features and then showered it with sweetened desiccated coconut or yellow sanding sugar. The coal ball pops were a lot easier; we just stuck on the eyes and coated the pops with brown jimmies. Repeat and eat.