Baking

Citrus!

Once again I have fallen desperately behind in updating here, but at least I have a tiny excuse. I’ve actually been out *gasp* HAVING FUN! I can hardly believe it myself, seeing as how I can be a right shut-in most of the time. It’s been an amazing few weeks, and thankfully all this fun hasn’t been breaking the bank too badly. It’s astonishing what you can do when you make the plans in advance and stick to them. I just wish I could say the same about posting, but I’m just glad I’ve even been able to get pictures because all of my baked goods have been disappearing rather quickly as of late.

Three weeks ago for a 4th of July “celebration” I made the Margarita Cupcakes I found on Beantown Baker’s blog. These cupcakes almost didn’t get made because I had no clue what I was doing when I was in the liquor store. It was an entirely new experience for me and not one I’d like to repeat any time in the near future, thank you very much.

They came together and baked up quickly and with little hassle. If anything the longest process was zesting and juicing the limes. I slightly overestimated how many I would need for these cupcakes and the accompanying watermelon “margaritas” (don’t ask . . . it was bad), and as a result I still have four limes sitting in my fridge.

I liked these cupcakes without the added tequila. It turned out to be a really good lime cupcake with a nice crumb; it was sturdy and spongey. I’m definitely going to keep the plain base in mind for future white cake baking endeavors.

Unfortunately for myself I couldn’t finish the remaining cupcakes so I sent them along with my suitemate so she could give them to some friends. While this was an enjoyable baking experience, I just don’t think alcoholic cupcakes will remain in my repertoire, not just because the alcohol is expensive (I’d MUCH rather spend that money on new pans or high-quality chocolate), but because after just one cupcake I had a raging headache. This happens every time I have the slightest bit of any sort of alcohol, and I think it’s stupid to put myself through hours of pain (even with Advil) to consume something I don’t even enjoy (even if it’s a part of something I enjoy).

In other citrus news, I also recently made Strawberry Lemonade Bars from The Baker Chick. I loved this bar base, so if ever I made lemon bars again, I will definitely stick with it. Unlike other recipes I’ve tried, this bar didn’t even come close to sticking to the bottom of the pan–well, except for one bar, but I’m blaming that on the friend trying to get it out.

I ended up adding way more than the 1/2 cup of pureed strawberry the recipe called for, and the strawberry flavor was still extremely faint, at least to me. The lemon still overpowered it, even though I added about a quarter cup less lemon juice than it called for. I’m not sure if the strawberry is meant to be overpowered and it’s just used for color, but I certainly expected some sort of strawberry flavor.

All in all it was a good bar, but the recipe made so many that I only just finished off the last of them, even with a considerable bit of help from friends.

Speaking of friends, two of us are seeing our first-ever GAELIC FOOTBALL GAME TOMORROW! We’re heading up to Gaelic Park in the Bronx to check out “Little Ireland”/Woodlawn and we’re going to catch a game while we’re up there. If only I had known about the league before this summer, I would have definitely gone to a game or two before this.

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Baking

Cookie Madness!

This post will be devoted to cookies! I’ve made three completely different recipes, and I don’t think I could possibly choose one that I love the most. They were all so different and delectable.

I’ll start with the Pomegranate White Chocolate Chip Cookies. These were one of my baking bonanzas from February and I just had to bake them again, even though once again I failed to document the process. Oh well!

I also had to make a substitution because I wanted them so badly and couldn’t get out to buy eggs. As a result I used half a banana in place of the egg. Thankfully it worked out wonderfully. The banana added a bit of something extra to the taste and I must say that I happen to like it better than the original recipe. I just might keep this substitution in mind when and if I make them for a third time.

They went over really well with my friends when I brought them to class one day. I kept the bag out during class, and one friend just kept reaching his hand into the bag and munching absent-mindedly throughout the entire hour. I think he liked them just a bit, haha.

For my next cookies I failed to get even one picture of them. I took the Glazed Lemon Cookies from Two Peas and Their Pod to a picnic in Washington Square Park the other day, and by the time I got there they were all SQUASHED and in chunks. Thankfully it didn’t affect the taste, but it would have been nice to get a picture of them in the park.

They were light and lemon-y and a perfect summer cookie. I omitted the glaze this time, and I might keep it that way so that they don’t become overwhelmingly sweet.

For my final cookie I made Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe from The Joy of Baking. I managed to transport these to the park without too much damage, but I didn’t take pictures of them there. Instead they became the first baked good to be photographed on my new windowsill.

Ta-da!

I’m not really feeling the direct sunlight for my photos. I much prefer my old sill and the indirect lighting because it was much less harsh and didn’t create such bold shadows on my food.

I thought I might also include the sandwiches we ate on our picnic in the park. My friend made us ham and cheese with mayo, spinach, and Texas tomato on bird seed bread from Whole Foods.

Great sandwiches, Anne! You can be in charge of sandwiches any time.

Baking

Lemon, Lemon, CHOCOLATE!

It’s closing in on the end of the semester, and do you know what that means? It means I like to bake more than study. I’ve had this urge to make almost EVERYTHING I’ve seen on baking blogs, and it finally got to be too much and I cracked. And I baked. More than I should have. It’s not like this desire was just an “Oh, yum, that would be a great thing to bake. I should try it sometime.” No, it’s been more like “You. Must. Bake. Me. Now. And. Forget. About. Homework!” And this reaction hasn’t just been about one thing, which makes it even worse. Fortunately I think it’s subsided for a brief moment right now, and hopefully I can get through this next week without one of those attacks.

The first thing I absolutely HAD to make was the Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake from Two Peas and Their Pod. I saw it on their blog before spring break, and I was dying to make it, if only because I had ricotta cheese I didn’t want to go to waste. Surprisingly, the ricotta survived in the fridge past spring break and I was finally able to make it last week. Either that or the urge just took way, way, over and I no longer had a choice in the matter.

I may have been a bit delayed in taking pictures of this cake. . . . About half of it was gone by this time, which is understandable, because it was SO DARN GOOD. You see the shininess on top of the cake? I made a glaze with the juice of one of the zested lemons and some powdered sugar. SO DARN GOOD. I also poked a bunch of holes in the top of the cake to let the glaze seep down inside.

I happened to get some batter on my finger before baking, and so I tried it. I wanted to stop right there and eat the batter with  a spoon it was so good. I’m actually surprised that most of it made it into the loaf pan. I showed great self restraint ;).

Though I should have just eaten all the batter, because the baking process was a horror. I guess I still don’t “know”  my loaf pan, because I followed the directions and put it in at 350 when I should have lowered it to 325 after other things have come out too browned. I took the cake out at one point to cover it in foil, and I ended up burning the fleshy point where my thumb meets my palm. OW!

I also should have known that eyeballing leavening agents (aka baking powder) in an actual spoon is not a good idea. It’s not much fault though, I HAD to. You see, the measuring spoons were buried under a MOUNTAIN of my suitemates’ dirty dishes in the sink. There was no way I could physically get to them. And as a result, my cake collapsed in on itself. It didn’t affect the taste or outward appearance, but once you sliced into it you could see the effects. My cake looked like one of the blocks the kiddies play with at school.

From now on I will use measuring spoons, no matter how deep they’re buried. Lesson learned.

I must be on a lemon kick or something, because even after that cake I still wanted MORE LEMON. I was looking around online for kicks and giggles and I found this Blueberry Cake with Lemon Buttercream on Recipe Girl. I’ve made and loved blueberry/lemon things before, so I knew this would be great to make.

The blueberry cake is delicious. I’ll probably make it again and not even use the buttercream, just so I can have a pure blueberry taste. LOVE.

Thankfully there was no collapsing this time around, and it baked up wonderfully. I did turn the oven down to 325 to prevent it from over-browning/baking, which proved to be a very good idea. You see? I’m learning :).

I was so impatient to eat this cake that I started frosting it before it was at room temperature. Whoops! The buttercream started melting as I was smoothing it across the top, but that was nothing a little fridge time couldn’t fix.

I also took some pictures of the view from my window after this little photo shoot. I’m glad I did.

And here’s one from as I’m posting. The weather looks really nice, even if the sky isn’t completely blue and cloudless.

And finally, as the last part of the title indicates, CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! I haven’t gone back to my simple roots and made chocolate chip cookies in ages. I thought it was about time to do so on Thursday.

Perfect. I could have had a lot more cookies (not all are pictured here), but that self-restraint from the pound cake flew out the window and I devoured the cookie dough. Whoops! It was well worth it though. I forgot how much I love and missed these cookies. Sometimes this urge to bake has some pretty good results beyond yummy creations. It’s always nice to make something nostalgic and that can bring up fond memories.

Baking

It’s a Lemon and Pancake Party!

I can’t even begin to express the sadness I felt as I ate the last piece of this lemon blueberry loaf with a lemon glaze last Friday morning. While the lemon flavor was slightly over-powering, I think it was a fantastic first attempt at this recipe. For future baking endeavors, though, I think I’m going to cut down on the lemon and sugar so that it has a more subtle flavor, rather than a BAM *sour face* one (even though that was thoroughly enjoyable and made me think of Damo and his lemon love each morning). I’m not sure if I want to make this same loaf again Sunday morning, or if I want to try something else for next week. I’m going to have to have a look around the All Recipes site to see if anything new will jump out at me. Whatever I end up baking, though, I hope it will be just as enjoyable as last week’s breakfast was, especially to make up for my lack of breakfast this week (big mistake, because I realized I NEED to eat breakfast every morning).

In other lemony news, I tried my hand at making lemon squares a couple of weeks ago. I can’t believe what I’ve been missing out on. The recipes was SUPER easy, and the results were SUPER yummy. The little squares were “suitemate-approved”, and so now I know what I can make when I want to make a dessert for my suite, since one girl doesn’t like chocolate (I’m going with it, even though I can’t quite wrap my head around hating chocolate. Oh well, to each her own.).

In non-lemon news, I made pancakes. They were also yummy. It was a tried and true recipe, so I wouldn’t have expected anything less than perfection.

Uncategorized

Come on LiveJournal

It’s becoming increasingly irritating that I can’t upload any photos to my entries, because what’s the point of the entry if I can’t show off what it’s about? I want to know what’s wrong with this feature and when it’s going to be up and running again, because I actually have stuff I want to post about, but can’t at the moment. How else am I supposed to legitimately put off all of the reading I have to do, even if it’s just for a short time? At the moment, I’m waiting to post about 1 updated Keroppi, 1 dessert, 1 breakfast, and 1 super sad CT fan that can’t go to the show taping this Friday night even though it’s less than two hours away by Metro-North. *sigh*, Such is the life of a broke college student. If only I could find a decent way to survive without needing to buy groceries or spend money on food, then I would be able to afford the ticket and I wouldn’t care about having to stay in Poughkeepsie until 4:40am when the train would arrive to take me home. I could have sworn that I said to myself that I was going to the next taping, no matter what, but I guess things changed a bit since last October. I guess I’ll just have to wait two and a half weeks for the first of three shows I’m going to. At least nothing’s stopping me from hanging around Radio City alllllllll day long that Friday. If I manage to snag some face time with Keith and Damo to speak some Irish with them, I guess I’ll be okay. Haha.

Baking

Catching Up

This past week has been insanely busy, thanks to finals and work, which means it was the PERFECT time to bake up a storm. Right? Well, that’s what happened. There was the bread and cake from Sunday, but then it just continued.

Tuesday was the school-sponsored "Midnight Breakfast", and I have learned my lesson and won’t be frequenting that event again, partially because it’s held so far from my dorm. So, like last semester, I took matters into my own hands and created a wonderful Midnight Breakfast for myself and my suitemates. Unlike the food from my school, this breakfast was actually hot and GOOD. Rather than cold waffles/pancakes/bacon/dry muffins, my creations consisted of homemade cinnamon rolls with copious amounts of frosting, pancakes, blueberry sauce, strawberries, whipped cream, nutella, and scrambled eggs. I know it wasn’t a wonderful cross-section of the breakfast world, but any more and we wouldn’t have been able to move or study.

The cinnamon rolls made the kitchen smell heavenly when they were in the oven; so much cinnamon-y goodness. The pancakes decided to be extremely temperamental, and so only a couple of them cooked up nice and evenly golden. 

  

 

Thursday morning prompted the baking of lemon blueberry scones, and the first batch was okay, nothing amazing. If I hadn’t been in a rush to get to an exam I would have baked them for a couple minutes longer to get them a bit browner. When I finally got around to baking up the rest of the batter, it had been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days, and so they turned out more akin to fortune cookies in respect to their taste. All in all, this scone-venture was a failure. I think i need to make one more batch so I don’t end on a bad scone note. 

I admit I didn’t make this cake. One of the secretaries at the school I work at bought it for the little party we had for my last day there. It was a pretty little cake, but once I saw the ingredients list it became much less pretty. I think I’m becoming a bit of a baking purist. But it’s the thought that counts, and it’s not like I’m going to hold this against her, partially because it was such a cute little cake.

Tomorrow, I’ll be baking up a cake for my suitemates’ graduation, so I need to start thinking about what it’s going to be and what it’s going to look like. Hopefully it’ll turn out well.