*image taken from the The Official Webpage of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Yes, yes -- we all know Koreans and karaoke go hand in hand. Come on, you know it. My dad likes to say "All Korean women think they can sing." He's married to a Korean woman so I guess it's OK that he says that. He's lived in a house where any night of the week any number of Korean women are singing into microphones, reading characters off the television screen, laughing and swaying together. I lived there, too. Yet, I still enjoy rocking out to a good karaoke time. I recently went with some friends on a karaoke adventure -- it was my friend Ava's first karaoke experience! Examples of the songs she sang: "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," "Un-break My Heart," "Smooth Operator," and "Killing Me Softly." Oh, good times.
Yes, that's me in "total vocal ecstasy," as one comrade called it...
ANYWAY, the reason I even started thinking about karaoke was because I was planning to blog about the baking I did for my recent trip to West Virginia. And that immediately made me think of that old John Denver song, "Take Me Home, Country Road." Which instantaneously made me think of how hilarious the English translations of American songs are on Korean karaoke machines -- e.g. "Take Me Home, Country Load" or "I'm not half the moon I used to be.../there's a shadow hanging over me/yesterday, came suddenly..." Too, too funny.
SO. Onto the baking. Jeff, Ava, Mia, and I (see, it all does tie together!) embarked on a road trip to Berkeley Springs, WV to Jeff's family's "woods house" for a weekend of hiking, singing around a campfire, reading, lounging, and eating. For my part, I wanted to bring a sack of baked goods. So the night before, crammer that I am, I decided to bake 4 items...
There's my kitchen island, filled to the gills with baking ingredients. Just like I like it.
And here are the goods, in all their baked glory (all recipes from Orangette; sometimes I just can't get past her site, as you well know!):
First, Banana-Coconut Bread. I've made this gem numerous times now. I love the tablespoon and a half of dark rum and the crunchy Demerara sugar crust on top. Easy, breezy.
Next, Apple Walnut Bundt Cake. Moist, delicious, and oh so pretty in my $3 Brooklyn sidewalk old-fashioned aluminum Bundt pan.
What a pair.
What, you don't want to eat that cookie? Don't worry, it's just the dough for these scrumptious little Buckwheat Butter Cookies.
The cookies in the above photo are a bit on the burned side, but they were still edible. The photo of the unburned ones is just too blurry to show you (seriously, I'm not lyin'). Molly's recipe called for adding cocoa nibs, but I couldn't find them in Hoboken so opted for toasted hazelnuts instead. Crumbly sweet deliciousness.
The ingredients for Chewy Cocoa Cookies with Chocolate Chips being measured, whisked, melted...
Those are the wet ingredients; now add the dry...
It's amazing how simply this cookie dough comes together with the aid of no mixer...just a bowl and a plastic spoon.
Gorgeous little things. And quite popular with those woods house folk, as was Ava herself. Perhaps next time she'll share some karaoke talent 'round the fire? I'll have to sneak more than a tablespoon and a half of rum into that Banana-Coconut Bread...