BakeFest and Beyond: Macaroons, Apricot White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, and Pound Cake

Got together with a few friends this weekend for a "BakeFest" in Alex's really big, pretty kitchen.   Lots of happy music, neighbors stopping by (with a puppy), a little bit of gossip, cookie dough eating, and espresso drinking.  Hoppy even brought lemonade.  Not just any lemonade, though, Mike's Hard PINK Lemonade.  Just add a pair of Levi's and we'd be the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  I don't even know what that means, but it sounds accurate.

Anyway, here's a quick synopsis of the three sweets baked and the personalities behind them.

1.  Macroons.  The "I'm just gonna throw something on" kinda cookie.  You know those naturally gorgeous people who make it seem so effortless?  That's Alex.  And her macaroons.  She didn't even use a recipe.  She just kinda throws it all together and it's fab.  (Kind of like the ratatouille she threw together for 10 people for a spontaneous lunch.  Like, seriously, Alex....   I would need at least 2 weeks notice for that!)  Anyway, Alex's casual Macaroons were awesome.  I thought Alex was being humble when she said "they aren't even that good" until I sampled the second batch that was shipped to Brendan as a "get well soon" care package... and they were indeed even better!    (2nd batch not photographed here.)

2.  Apricot White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.  This is the "yeah, this looks good on paper, but is really all that?" and then you get to meet 1-on-1 and you're like wow, you're awesome in real life too.   But, not like too good for the rest of us, either.  You're just an ordinary cookie (but you have special stuff the other cookies don't have) and you're OK with just keepin' that to yourself.  Just sittin' there... bein' all.... OK I'm done with this analogy.  However, this brings me to the baking tag team behind this cookie, Megan and Hoppy who are both such smart, good-hearted, good-lookin' girls who are just down two down-to- earth cookies that you can't help but like.  :)

3.  Pound Cake.  This is harder to right about myself, but I'm just going to dive right in.  This cake is really rich, just like me.  Just kidding.

I used a recipe from my new favorite book -- BakeWise.  There is a line from the book describing how this recipe is supposed "fail" according to The Math (baker's formula of proportions).  This cake's recipe has an excess of sugar and fat so it will not maintain it's structure -- otherwise known as a high-ratio cake.  When you bake it in a round cake pan or a loaf pan, it will have a sad, sunken center. If you fixed the proportions, however, to retain the wouldn't be NEARLY as delicious.  The author describes this lesson learned with these words (as her neighbor's mother used to say): A Sad Cake is a Happy Cake. So the secret is.. just throw it in a bundt pan and make it an inverted cake. So what does that say about my personality?  I guess that I like the idea that the technically "imperfect" sometimes is just the way it's supposed to be and that maybe there is a better reason for it than meets the eye.  Am I being too heavy?   Maybe that's also something the pound cake and I have in common.  :)