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These cookies are very festive and easy! And tasty! From Betty Crocker’s Cookbook!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened

1/3 cup shortening

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 package (8 oz) candies (red and green m&ms, in this case)

Heat oven to 375 F. Mix sugars, margarine, shortening, vanilla, and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until light brown, 8-10 minutes. (centers will be soft). Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Emily’s notes: My favorite scent ever is vanilla. Every time I bake with vanilla, I take a huge whiff of it and my insides get happy. I went to bake at my friend’s and she had imitation vanilla, and it did NOT smell the same. Nothing can beat the smell of pure vanilla extract. Period.

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These cookies are very easy and yummy! I got this recipe from a lovely book called “Southern Living: 1986 Annual Recipes”

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg

2 tablesppons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

approx 36 chocolate kisses

Cream shortening and peanut butter; gradually add 1/2 cup ugar and brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; beat well.

Combine flour, soda, and salt seperately; add to creamed mixture.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls; then roll in 1/2 cup shugar. Place balls 2 inches apart on a  lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 F for 8 minutes. Remove from oven; press a chocolate kiss into teh center of each cookie. Yield: 3 dozen.

Emily’s notes: Make sure you unwrap the kisses in advance so you can put them on top right after the cookies come out of the oven so they can melt to the cookie. That’s about it, they’re pretty simple to make.


Well, I’m considering turning this into a quasi- baking type blog. Intermixed with personal ranting and stories, of course. So here are photos and links to recipes of some of my latest conquests in the kitchen. I’ll make individual posts for the ones that I have to type out the recipes for, otherwise I’ll just include links. Enjoy!

Strawberry Cream Roll
I believe this fairly impressive! Creamy delicous strawberry on the inside, spongy cake on the outside. Topped with strawberries, tastes amazing! And really not as hard to make as you might think.
Recipe: http://dessertfirst.typepad.com/dessert_first/2010/08/strawberry-cream-roll.html

Peach Tart

I decided to forgo the maple syrup and almonds, and it was delicious! And looks pretty dang awesome, if I do say so myself. So colorful!
http://cafefernando.com/peach-tart-with-almonds-and-maple-syrup/

Mango, Papaya, and Chocolate cake
http://cafefernando.com/passion-fruit-mango-and-chocolate-cake/
So i couldn’t find passion fruit, which is what this is supposed to contain, so i used papaya in passion fruit juice. Still tasted pretty awesome! Doesn’t look as nice as Cafe Fernando’s version, obviously, but pretty good for a novice. Most complex thing i have ever made! Took me all day to make all the parts.

Mango Mousse Tart
http://dessertfirst.typepad.com/dessert_first/2006/08/mangos_and_maca.html
I love mango! this was pretty delicious, and very easy. Very light and fluffy; it would probably taste a million times better with fresh mango in a tropical country, but halifax is what I have…

Apple Cinnamon Muffins-
they don’t look too hot, but they taste amazing! Got the recipe out of one of my mom’s murder mystery food books- they have names like “death by chocolate” and are extremely weird. But apparently they have good recipes!  https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/to-die-for-glazed-apple-streusel-muffins/

Hershey Kiss Cookies

Peanut butter and chocolate- a classic combo. These cookies are simple and elegant. A classic for every Christmas! https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/hershey-kiss-cookies/

Sugar Cookies with Icing

I’m always the only one who actually enjoys decorating these. My mother just ridicules me- “You’re just going to eat them! Just slap the icing on!” But I still like to make them semi pretty. Though, as I’ve gotten older, they get more and more abstract…

Red and Green M&M cookies!

Classic. Basically chocolate chip cookies with M&M’s in them. Very festive!

https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/candy-cookies/

Chocolate Mousse
There was a recipe on Cafe Fernando’s blog that involved only chocolate and water. I was intrigued, so I tried it. It was very rich and chocolately, a bit much so for my brother and mother. But I thought it was tasty!
http://cafefernando.com/the-best-chocolate-mousse-of-your-life-under-5-minutes/

Mint Swirl Brownies!
I felt like making something with the mint extract in the cupboard, and I have a party this afternoon. So I made mint swirl brownies! Fairly simple and fun, no crazy accidents to speak of.
http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/28/MintSwirlBrownies67184.shtml

Strawberry Mousse Cheesecake

Well, I finally have a chance to bake in a kitchen again! This is my first creation of the summer- very light and fluffy and delicious! Perfect dessert for a sunny summer afternoon. And who doesn’t love strawberries? https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/strawberry-mousse-cheesecake/

Homemade Pop Tarts

So delicious and flaky and awesome! Thanks again to Mennonite Girls Can Cook. https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/homemade-pop-tarts/ . Way better than the store bought.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread

This is freaking delicious- like cinnamon buns, but in a loaf! So warm and tasty right out of the oven, and not too hard to make either.  https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/cinnamon-sugar-pull-apart-bread/

Easy Breezy Peanut Brittle

Recipe from my awesome roomie Heather! Just corn syrup, sugar, peanuts, and butter. Yum! Tasty treat. https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/easy-peanut-brittle/

Banana Muffins!

Simple, easy way to use up leftover rotten bananas! (Shhh, we won’t tell anyone if you just let your bananas rot as an excuse to try this delicious recipe.) Add nuts or chocolate chips to your taste to make it your own muffin. https://tropicalpengawin.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/banana-muffins/


Does yeast creep anyone else out? It’s these little balls of living organism that you can freeze, and then just pop in some warm water and they wake up and go to town, like the undead or something, making zombie bread. You try to stir it, and the yeast bubbles in protest, mad at you for disturbing it’s nice warm little environment! I’m half afraid the mixture is going to congeal and start to crawl out of the bowl and attack me, like the blob. *shudder*. Come to think of it, they stopped the blob by dropping it in the arctic… Oh my goodness. THE BLOB WAS MADE OF YEAST! Oh I’m never making bread again.

I mention yeast because, tonight, I attempted to make something with yeast. With possibly disastrous results.

Usually my baking is haphazard. But this time seems to be taking the cake (ha! pun). Sometimes I fear that my lack of common sense will really be the end of me…

Cafe Fernando has an amazing blog that I love. I’ve made quite a few things from there, such as Strawberry Sunrise Scones, a Peach Tart, Mango Papaya and Chocolate Cake, 2 different recipes of Chocolate Mousse, and a Chocolate Ganache Tart. This time, a thing called Brioche caught my eye.

You might ask, what is brioche? Is it difficult to make? How the hell do you pronounce it? Apparently it is a type of bread. I have no idea if it’s tasty or not, and I’ve never seen it made before. But I like trying to be ambitious. And this recipe for brioche has you put chocolate in the middle. Mmmmm sounds yummy! And the pictures are amazing. So I decided to try it.

I had most of the ingredients, and decided to blunder my way through attempting this recipe. The recipe said to mix things with a heavy duty mixer. So, I got out my little hand mixer with the whisky appendages, and didn’t stop to think that maybe, just maybe, they are not the same thing. Now enlightened after this experience, I firmly believe that little hand mixers are not capable of mixing bread dough. No.

But this didn’t occur to me earlier. Foolhardily, I mixed the liquid and flour with the mixer and all is fine. I went to add the egg, and noticed that the recipe said that the egg should be room temperature. I grabbed my eggs out of the freezer and put them in a basin of hot tap water for a bit, thinking that this would warm them up. I think it did, probably. Possibly. I then added the egg. The mixer proceeded to go really slowly and get all jammed up, and just be ridiculously unhelpful in general. I sighed, and then tried to mix it in by hand. Not the best scenario, but doable. Everything seemed ok, until it came to the butter.

Oh butter. Why do you always cause me trouble? Not only was the butter supposed to be at room temperature, but mine was currently residing in the freezer. This is what happens when Emily doesn’t read her recipes ahead of time. So, I proceeded to stick the frozen butter in the water just like the eggs. It has a wrapper on it, right?

So I have these sticks of butter, which are melty on the outside and hard on the inside. And I’m supposed to mix it into the dough… with the mixer. I can’t think of any reasonable way to do this without using the mixer. But the mixer can’t mix this kind of dough. My solution? Add water! So I add water until it becomes this gloopy mess. I then cut the sticks of butter into quarters (it calls for 3 sticks of butter. Holy man that’s a lot) and attempt to mix it in. With the mixer.

The mixer still didn’t quite know how to deal with this crazy thick bread dough. It whined in protest and reluctantly attemptede to integrate the butter, but the butter was kinda frozen still in the middle and the dough was freaking thick. Well, I didn’t know what else to do, so… I just kept doing this. My hands were all gloopy from dealing with yucky butter and I was trying to lift the mixer high enough out of the batter so as not to jam up, but low enough so dough didn’t fling everywhere. It’s pretty tough. I kinda was successful in integrating the butter, until I start to smell smoke. My mixer’s motor was kinda… burning. I was burning out the motor, possibly ruining our mixer. I quickly turned it off- I may have had some baking mishaps in the past, but I was not about to utterly destroy something.

Unfortunately, I still had cold chunks of butter lurking in this muck. Out of options, I stuck my hands in and felt around for the chunks and melted/squished them with my fingers. Bread dough is a gross consistency, and this was more liquidy than it was supposed to be because I added water to make it mixable. Sigh. I kinda succeeded in unchunking the butter, but I still think there could possibly be chunks of butter lurking in the deep. Whatever.

This dough was still not thick enough, however. I knew what consistency bread dough was supposed to be, and this was not it. So… I added flour. And mixed it in. And added more flour. And more flour. And more. An in-determinant amount of flour. Finally it reached a reasonable consistency. Hoping I hadn’t royally screwed this up, I dumped this dough into another bowl to let it rise for a bit. And prayed for this to work.

So, now, I just have to wait for it to rise. And punch it down every so often. And refrigerate it overnight. Tomorrow I will post the results of my dabbling in the dark art of baking. Cross your fingers for me…

UPDATE #1: The dough doesn’t seem to have risen… At all… Soooo… Um… Yeast likes heat, right? I am going to put the dough under my bed, next to the heater. Maybe that will help it? Either that or completely ruin everything. I guess we’ll see…

UPDATE #2: Well… good news is that apparently dough rises when put directly above my heater in my bedroom… bad news is that apparently my heater is so insanely hot that it melted of the plastic around my outlet… um… My bed is directly against the heater… Melting plastic and electronics is probably not the best combination…. One of these days I really will end up killing myself and it’s not going to be pretty. It’s a wonder I still possess all four of my limbs.

The only thing that’s left is to see if the bread bakes well and comes out yummy! I’m in suspense!

UPDATE #3: Well… It turned out fairly well! Not as pretty as the pictures on Cafe Fernando’s blog, but good enough for me. I shoulda put a little more chocolate inside but all things considered… I consider this a success! Yay me! Here are some pictures. And a link if you want to make your own! http://cafefernando.com/chocolate-brioche/

What day is it again?

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The Dusty Archives of my Mind

‎"If I went through life by myself, I'd waste a lot of my time wandering around in the wrong direction"
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