The 2016 Baking Roundup

2017 is fresh out the gates! But before we kick off a new year of Sugarsmith, let’s take a look at what happened in 2016. Every year I write an “annual report” to sum up key facts and stats. I started doing the same thing for Sugarsmith last year–except here, it’s all about baking. Since I keep a super detailed log of everything I bake, it’s pretty simple to pull the numbers.

In 2016, I baked 68 times, including 60 new recipes. When I looked back at my 2015 report, I was sort of shocked that I only baked 39 times in 2015. That’s a 74% increase year-over-year! I wondered when all this baking happened, so I took a closer look at the dates in my baking log. Sometimes I bake in spurts: for example, I made 7 recipes for my birthday. But usually, I make one recipe at a time. How did that add up to 68?

Well, up until August I made 33 recipes. From August-December, I made an additional 35. That means I seriously picked up the pace in those final 4 months. And it makes total sense: I switched jobs in August and stopped traveling for work. Of course! If I’m home more, I bake more.

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My baking always skews to cookies and bars, because they’re easiest to transport and easiest to share. Every year I declare I’m going to make more breakfast and more cakes–but then it just doesn’t happen. Let’s hope for a step-change this year, at least.

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I was surprised that my cakes trended toward non-chocolate flavors. But then I remembered those amazing strawberry cupcakes, and the stellar buttermilk cupcakes I still haven’t shared with you (sorry!). I’ll never say no to chocolate in a cake… but I definitely don’t need it, either.

Top Posts on Sugarsmith for 2016 

My Personal 2016 Favorites

2016 Fun Facts 

  • Baking-related events I hosted: 3
  • Times my log mentions bringing baked goods to a social event I was NOT hosting: 17
  • Bags of chocolate chips currently in my cupboard: 10 (whoops)
  • Recipes made where I stuffed one thing into another thing: 10 
  • Baking fails recorded in my log: 6 (that’s 9% of the recipes I made!)
  • Favorite bloggers I got to interview: 1 (Molly Yeh, and it was awesome)

2017 Baking Resolutions 

  • Master my newly acquired springform pan (thanks, Jen!)
  • Play with matcha as an ingredient
  • Stop pantry loading specialty ingredients before I really need them (Only because I lack an actual pantry. If you have one, I strongly encourage pantry loading.)

Thanks for a wonderful year, dear readers! 

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The 2015 Baking Roundup

Happy New Year, dear readers! I’m so glad I decided to start this blog last year. I used to post baking-related topics over on my other blog, but it’s been really nice to have a separate space dedicated to one of my favorite hobbies. Creating a second blog has let share more of my baking love with you, and I look forward to another year of yummy recipes, bakery reviews and musings about the state of food today.

2015 ended with lots of baked goods, which means I have many new recipes coming your way soon. But before I get to those, I’d like to do a year-end roundup of sorts. You see, on my other blog, I do an “annual report” that charts out how I spent my time the previous year. It’s become a tradition for me, and I’d like to start something similar here. Of course, the Sugarsmith annual report will be decidedly sweeter and tastier than most annual reports you’ll find. I’m also working on some “Baking Resolutions” that I’ll post soon.

Let’s take a look at last year’s “data,” shall we?

Baking SS

I made so many cookies this year! 2014 also skewed cookies but bars were pretty close. I’m aiming to round this out a bit more in the coming year with a little more baked good diversity. The ratio of new to old recipes doesn’t shock me in the least because I love trying out new recipes. I do have some perennial favorites, like the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars. And the Apple Crisp I posted is a family tradition. I actually love the idea of “go to” recipes for holidays and family gatherings… I just find myself itching to try something new whenever I get the time to bake.

Flavors SS

This breakdown doesn’t surprise me at all, but I do want to switch it up  in 2016 and make more savory baked goods. I end up making more dessert than anything else because it’s easy to bring places and share. Still, I am sure my friends and coworkers would also be happy to nibble on savory bites from time to time.

Top Posts on Sugarsmith for 2015 

Favorite New Recipes I Baked in 2015 That Aren’t on the Blog 

2015 Fun Facts

  • Number of bakery visits recorded in my personal journal: 22
  • Photos of me eating ice cream tagged on Facebook: 3
  • Baking-related events I hosted: 3 
  • Recipes on my “to bake” list at the end of 2015: 359!!!
  • Times I described a recipe as “delicious blobs” in my baking journal: (it was a pretzel recipe and while the pretzels didn’t form right, they sure were delicious blobs!)
  • Recipes I made that involved a sea salt sprinkling on top: 9 (no wonder I am feeling sea salt sprinkle fatigue!)

Let the Baking Begin

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A baking lesson with my mom, 6th grade

I’ve always seen something special in baked goods. My family didn’t eat dessert often when I was younger but when we did get dessert, we made the most of it. Family vacations were punctuated by sweets: cookies at Disneyland, ice cream in Canada, pancakes in San Francisco. Even more important were the baked goods my mom made for us at home. I was treated to homemade birthday cake, Thanksgiving quick breads and cookies every New Year’s Day. Sweet treats became associated with family, comfort and love – especially those homemade baked goods.

When it came time to learn a “new skill” for a 6th grade project, my mom suggested she teach me how to bake. It took many more years for baking to evolve from an occasional hobby into a passion. These days, baking is one of my favorite ways to spend my time.

Baking in my apartment kitchen earlier this year

Baking in my kitchen earlier this year

Since I’m an equal opportunity eater, I love to try other people’s creations, too. I have a “to eat” list that spans everything from macarons to milkshakes. It partners nicely with my “to bake’ list, which seems to only grow longer, no matter how many lines I cross off.

This blog is going to chronicle a mix of my own baking, and the things I try when I visit bakeries and ice cream stores. I hope you enjoy the sweet, sweet journey – I’m excited to have you along for the ride!