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I have found true love! In the form of Mennonitegirlscancook .blogspot.com. I mean, seriously, these recipes look deliciously awesome. My mother told me I should use up some of our strawberries… so I searched strawberry. And found this beauty-

http://mennonitegirlscancook.blogspot.com/2011/02/strawberry-mousse-cheesecake.html

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Combine melted butter and crumbs.  Press on bottom of 9-inch spring form pan. (I just used a regular pie pan, I’m not that fancy)

Filling 

  • 3 oz. / 85 gr. package strawberry flavoured gelatin
  • 1 envelope Knox unflavoured gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 15 oz. (about 1 1/2 cups) frozen sliced strawberries
  • 8 oz. / 250 grams cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  •  Chocolate hearts & strawberries for garnish
  1. Mix gelatin powders together in a bowl.  Add boiling water and stir to dissolve.  Mix in partially thawed strawberries.  Chill until syrupy.
  2. Beat cream cheese and icing sugar together until smooth.
  3. Whip cream until stiff.  Fold into cream cheese mixture.
  4. Fold in thickened strawberry jello mixture.
  5. Pour over prepared crust.
  6. Chill for several hours before serving.
  7. Garnish with chocolate curls or hearts and fresh strawberries, if desired. (You can make chocolate shavings by taking a chocolate bar and peeling it with a vegetable peeler- it makes lovely garnish. I used dark chocolate 😀 )

Serves 10-12.

*Em’s notes- I had some issues at first but they all worked themselves out. I had trouble folding the cream cheese into the whipping cream- there were still chunks of cream cheese in the end result, but you couldn’t taste it or anything so it wasn’t a huge disaster- you wouldn’t be able to tell except for the fact that the chunks of cream cheese remained white while the rest is pink. I’m not quite sure how to avoid that- it’s really hard to get rid of chunks when you’re folding… Also I left the gelatin mixture in the fridge too long, and it turned to jello… obviously… so I microwaved it and rechilled it. There was almost too much filling for the pie pan, but it just barely fit without spilling! Everything worked out in the end, though, and it’s quite a light, deliciously fluffy desert!


This is the height of my baking accomplishments. This is my greatest accomplishment. This scone recipe is freaking amazing. I got the basic scone recipe from Cafe Ferando- http://cafefernando.com/strawberry-scones/ and the idea for the orange glaze and flavouring from http://bakingbites.com/2008/04/strawberry-sunrise-scones/– when I made the strawberry sunrise scones, they didn’t turn out well at all- I didn’t mix the yogurt in well or something, it was soggy and gross. But the flavour was good. I also got the idea to grate the butter in from a cooking video online- the colder the butter, the flakier the pastry will be. So, if you grate in frozen butter, it remains quite cold but is shredded into little pieces which can be incorporated into the dough. As far as I can tell, it works like a charm! So here they are, my wonderful scones.

STRAWBERRY SCONE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup strawberries (I usually use them frozen, but I’m not sure it makes a difference)
  • 6 tablespoons frozen, unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream with 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

For finishing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 T orange juice

Method

  1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 400 F (205 C). Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the strawberries, tossing until evenly distributed and coated with flour (this allows the fruit to be evenly distributed among each wedge). Grate the frozen butter in with a cheese grater
  2. In a small bowl, stir the cream, orange zest, and egg yolks just to blend. Add this all at once to the flour mixture. Stir with a fork to begin combining the wet and dry ingredients and then use your hands to gently knead the mixture together until all the dry ingredients are absorbed into the dough and it can be gathered into a moist, shaggy ball.
  3. Do not overknead: This dough is sticky but benefits from minimal handling. Set the rough ball in the center of the prepared baking sheet and pat it gently into a round about 1 inch thick and 7 inches in diameter. Don’t be tempted to make the round any flatter.
  4. With a sharp knife or pastry scraper, cut the round into eight wedges, but don’t separate.
  5. Bake until the scones are deep golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a wedge comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Cut the scones apart and slide the parchment onto a rack and let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Mix the glaze (sugar and orange juice)- drizzle over warm scones!
  7. Best served fresh, these scones will keep for up to a month, wrapped well and frozen. Thaw at room temperature and then warm in a 325 F oven.

Enjoy your delicious scones!


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/


Oh, what misadventures I do have. I’m like a really lame, really horrible super hero. Whose super power is not having common sense. “It’s a rock!” “It’s a lump of clothing” “No, it’s Common-Senseless girl” “Who told her to come?”

This misadventure starts in the kitchen, as all good misadventures do. I was baking scones for a bake sale and decided that 64 was a good number to make. However, my friend’s kitchen only had one pan. So I could only do one pan of 16 scones at a time, and they take 22 minutes to bake. Lets just say it took forever.

My first bump was the butter. Usually, I freeze the butter overnight and then grate it into the scones with a cheese grater (the colder the ingredients, the flakier the pastry. Remember that, kids). However, I only had it in the freezer for a couple hours. So, my friend Steve starts grating the butter, because he is a nice person. However, his hands start melting the butter, and it all clumps together, resulting in a scone mixture with huge clumps of butter that would not be conducive to good scones. Common-senseless girl’s bright idea? Take out all the little pieces of strawberry (these were strawberry scones) and then use a fork to cut in the butter like normal people. So, I pick out a cups worth of strawberry chunks, which takes a ridiculous amount of time because they are sneakily disguised by flour, like little fruity spies. Every once in a while I’d squeeze what I thought was a butter chunk and it turned out to be a strawberry, and red guts would burst out from between my fingers and I would feel like I just committed murder. But I prevailed and eventually won the battle of the strawberries.

(this is a picture of a scone I actually made once. Be impressed)

Finally, everything works out and my scones are baked, smelling and looking absolutely delicious! (Like always). Now to actually get them to the bake sale. The email I had gotten informing me of my duties as baker said that I was to drop these scones off by 8:00 AM on Saturday in someone’s apartment. I figured that 2 in the morning  on Friday night was to late to drop them off, so I decided to wake up at 7:30 that morning and take them then. It sounded like a good plan…

It is 7:30 AM. I wake up, decide that it is entirely too early for humans to function, and lay in bed like a useless log for about 10 minutes, trying to figure a way out of doing this. You see, I have an enormous aversion to knocking on doors. If a door is closed, it is closed for a reason. Even when it’s my good friend, and I know them and their roommate, I still have been known to walk up to the door, notice that it is closed, stare at it for a couple seconds with a confused expression, try to wish it open with my mind powers, panic, and run away like a scared puppy with my tail between my legs. I also have an unusually strong aversion to using the telephone to call people. What if I disturb them? What if the phone rings at an extremely obnoxious time? Oh, the horror.

The apartment to which I had to go evokes both of these fears, until they combine to form an extra-strength fear that is powerful enough to knock out a hippo. I avoid the apartments at all cost. To get into an apartment, you have to call the inhabitants on a little speaker thinger, which makes their phone ring (phone phobia). And if you are let inside the building, you still have to knock on the actual door (door knocking phobia). So you see, this is really quite a feat for me to accomplish.

Eventually, I realize that the faster I get rid of my scones, the faster I can go back to sleep! This idea excites me, so I head down my ladder to begin my task. However, my sky bunk (basically, it’s the top half of a bunk bed, with a desk underneath instead of a bottom bed) is not happy with the fact that I chose to part with it so early; it apparently wanted more cuddle time. In an act of enraged revenge, it gives me a ginormous splinter in my middle finger. I swear profusely in my head, not wanting to wake up my slumbering roommate. I attempt to yank this monstrosity out of my finger, but my pain tolerance is so absurdly low that I am unsuccessful. I start thinking things like “Eh, so what if I have a sliver of tree in my hand, and it’s throbbing like mad. No one will notice. I’ll just go around the rest of my life with this ginormous splinter.” Thankfully, common-senseless girl gets a better idea and decides to run her finger under hot water, and it slides right out. Hooray!

Now on to my actual task: delivering the scones. I read and reread the email to make sure that I am not getting it wrong. I figure surely she must be up at this time, because you wouldn’t write 8:00 AM on your email if you weren’t planning on being awake. I tell myself this over and over until I am thoroughly convinced. I walk out the door in my black flip flops, fuzzy snowflake PJ pants, and my long, black, wool creeper trench coat. I do not put in my contacts because I figured I’d just be going right back to bed anyway. As I stumble along the hallway and run into railings, I regret this decision immensely. However, I’m already halfway there, and the scones must be delivered!

I get to the apartments. The dial pad stares at me omonously, daring me to make a call and disturb people at 7:30 in the morning. It seems to taunt me, saying “They will all be sleeping and you will wake them up. Nobody gets up at 7:30. You’re probably doing it all wrong. You screw up. Failure. Life is going to be akward.” Little did I know how right the dial pad was. Touche, dial pad. Touche.

I almost walked out the door, but then I remembered how much work these damn scones were to make, and I was not letting that go to waste. I gather up my non-existent courage, and call the apartment. And it rings. And rings. And rings. And I start to realize that I’m not very intelligent, and that I am most definitely waking people up. But there is no backing down now! Finally, a voice answers. A male voice. Not the girl I was looking for. Oops.

With a trembling voice, I manage to squeak out “I have baked goods for Ellery?” a phrase which was meant to be a statement but whose intonation went up so much at the end that it sounded like a question on steroids. I am buzzed in and I proceed to open the apartment door without knocking (shocking, I know. But whatever, I already screwed up).

I look around and don’t see anyone, but then again, I don’t have my contacts in, so everything looks blurry. A disembodied voice declares, “I think they wanted all that stuff in the great hall.” I was pretty sure the email said her apartment, but I wasn’t about to argue with a disembodied voice that I had just woken up at 7:30 in the morning. I frantically search the room, desperate to find the source of this voice so that I can look like a semi-intelligent being and look at who I’m talking to. But I fail miserably and end up muttering “oh, I, uh, sorry, my bad” to thin air, and sheepishly back out the door.

I close the door, sigh heavily, and make my way to the great hall. I see tables and things set up inside and lights on, and my heart leaps for joy, thinking “Oh, yay, there are people setting up and I can just give them my baked goods and everything will be ok.” I go to pull open the door and… it’s locked. There are no people inside. I stand there, contemplating my poor scones’ fate. The deadline was 8 AM. I am not going back to those apartments. Maybe I’ll be too late and no one will get to enjoy my hard work! What a tragedy!

Suddenly, I realize that I don’t care. I’ll bring them down later; I tried my hardest. I pick up my disgruntled scones and drag myself back up to my room, plop them on the chair, and snuggle back into bed. However, body decides to be a complete jerk for the second day in a row and doesn’t let me fall back asleep. At all. Not even a little tiny bit. Being fully awake at 8:00 in the morning for no reason is just depressing.

Eventually 8:30 rolls around and I decide that I’m going to try again. This time, the door to the great hall is open, but no one is inside. Not really caring what happens at this point, I saw a table with cookies on it and deposited my dear scones on top. We said our heartfelt goodbyes and parted tearfully, for I knew I would not see all of them again. I naively slumped off to bed for a second time, hefting my tired body up the ladder, being careful not to be impaled my the malicious sky bunk, hoping to get a little bit more sleep. I did not get any more sleep.

Well, when all else fails, it’s breakfast time! I decided that if I couldn’t sleep, I would go eat myself some breakfast. So, I go down to the cafeteria and get myself a nice bowl of instant oatmeal. Although oatmeal looks like a thoroughly unappetizing brown goopey blob of grossness that is waiting for the right moment to congeal itself and attack my sanity, it is quite tasty. But not 5 minutes after I sit down, the 2 people I sit with decide to leave.

Common-senseless girl finds herself sitting alone after a traumatizing morning of failing to act like a normal adult human being, staring out the window and eating her gloopey oatmeal in solitude. A depressing start to a depressing day.

Disclaimer: 5 minutes after I was sitting alone, more people came to join until we had an overflowing table. But mentioning that takes away from the dramatic effect. All is good. Don’t worry about my mental health any more than you already do.

What day is it again?

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