This is going to be a conversation all about dessert because dessert deserves conversation. (So there, Red Queen; you clearly have screwed up priorities.)
This absolutely must be the best time of year for desserts. Winter, I think, and Christmas especially, lend themselves particularly well to sweets. I'm not sure why - maybe because we're all evolutionarily predisposed to put on weight in the colder months to keep ourselves warm - but I am not complaining at all. (My jeans are complaining, but that's another matter entirely, and I'm of the opinion that clothing, like small dogs and sometimes boyfriends, is better seen than heard. Don't you think?)
Anyway. We're getting off topic. Dessert!
Sorry, mind wandering! Dessert. Focus, Betsy.
We're having a New Year's Eve party on Friday night and the only (only, ha!) nibbles that we're going to provide are desserts. I really don't want to overload on chocolate and so have tried to pick out a variety of yummy things from my cookbooks and from around the web. My parameters are the following: I need things that can be eaten easily with fingers and with minimal mess, but also I need one classic cake with which to inaugurate my lovely new cut-glass cake stand. I'm thinking of making the following:
Blondies from Smitten Kitchen without chocolate (gasp!) but with chopped dried apricots
And also I'm going to make the simplest but most amazing chocolate cookies that I used to bake (and devour) with the girls I babysat for in New York. I don't have an image of them yet - never fear, one will be posted when I have lovingly pulled them from the oven if my flatmates allow them to last that long - so please do satiate yourself here with the recipe.
But wait! You may notice that I haven't yet said which cake I'm going to bake. (Look how observant you are, dear readers! I am so impressed.) That's because I'm dying to make a cheesecake but I can't since I don't have an electric beater and it's made me so depressed that I have stopped looking for yummy cake recipes and now I am literally about to curl up around my virginal cake stand and cry for its barrenness. (Yes, I am waxing poetic about my cake stand, which, apparently, has been personified into a woman with a biological clock. Deal with it.) So: help me. Help me! Give me an electric-beater-less cake recipe. Give me the best one you've got. Please! Thank you.