Baking, Celtic Thunder

Hello blog, I’m Emerald Thunder! It’s nice to meet you.

Wow, now didn’t I fall of the face of the earth? It’s been SO long. It’s now the END of March, spring break has been over for a long time, the CT promo trips are over, and I’m gearing up for the end of the semester and all of my final papers. I’ve also made a few yummy things and just haven’t gotten around to/had time to blog about them.

Another thing, my baking bonanzas are failing miserably. I’ve only blogged about ONE of them so far. . . . Yeah. . . . I’ve done the pomegranate white chocolate chip cookies, the Oreo Cupcakes, and the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, but their photos are still waiting impatiently on my memory card. I really need to post them. Soon.

Here’s what else I’ve been up to in the past month:

MACARONI AND CHEESE!!!

It was so super cheesy before I baked it. I think I kept it in the oven a bit too long, and so it dried out. I added some extra milk to my bowl and it turned out okay. I made this again last week and decided against baking it (also because I was just so hungry, haha). Much better that way. Maybe next time I’ll put it in the oven for like 5 minutes. I don’t need a crispy crust on it, so 5 minutes should be sufficient.

This is what happens when you’re making mac and cheese and not paying attention to which way you’re flailing your arms.

Burnt to a black crisp pasta has such a wonderful and fragrant smell. From now on, the box will ALWAYS be closed unless I am pouring the pasta into the pot of water. But it’s okay, this story had a happy ending.

BROWNIES!!!

I absolutely love the Best Cocoa Brownies recipe on Une Gamine dans la Cuisine. It’s been my go-to recipes for a few months now, granted with a few alterations in the form of an extra egg and a bunch of chocolate chips melted into the batter. This time, however, I forgot to add the chips to the batter, and so I just sprinkled some on top. I think I might just stick with doing that, as they were still super amazing without the added chocolate.

And some yogurt-covered pretzels that worked okay, but I don’t think I’ll try to make them again. This version didn’t even come CLOSE to the terrible-for-you store-bought ones. I wanted that, but I failed in creating it. Oh well.

And a sneak peek for the Irish Car Bomb Cupcake Bonanza

I didn’t make all of the batter into cupcakes (there was SO MUCH BATTER), so I poured the leftover into a 9×13 pan and baked it into a cake. Then I topped it with green buttercream for St. Patrick’s Day.

I planned on using my shamrock cookie cutter on this cake, but it just didn’t work out well. The cookie cutter was just too small and the cake was just too thick. So I cut it into small squares instead.

And finally, POPCORN.

I admit, I had no part in making the popcorn besides watching and laughing at my jumpy friend’s expense.

 

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Baking, Crafting

Involuntary Thoreau Break

Uh, yeah . . . okay. . . . I really think certain features of my dorm suite need to be altered, for instance, thicker walls would be nice, or even having the gaps between certain “walls” and the ceiling being filled in. Please, I’m begging you! I’ll pay for it to happen, just make it happen! I DON’T need to be hearing these conversations in the middle of my Thoreau reading; it’s hard enough to concentrate in complete silence, so the addition of these “conversations” is just not working for me. I really wish I could find earplugs that actually worked.

Okay, well, on to happier news. I made a really yummy macaroni and cheese tonight. Well, actually, it was rotini and cheese because I don’t have any macaroni at the moment. I like using rotini just fine though, so I might not even bother getting macaroni in the future. I don’t have the slightest clue how much cheese I put in this thing . . . but it was a lot. There was shredded cheddar cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, small curd cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, plus some sour cream and a small amount of butter/flour roux with milk. I basically tried to use up all my cheeses from my last mac and cheese attempt, and I mostly did. I also had ground beef defrosted in the fridge that I needed to use, so I browned that up and tossed it in to add something else to the mix. A dash of salt and pepper completed the gooey mix, and a sprinkle of Parmesan completed the pan.

I baked it in the oven at 375 for a little over half an hour, and when I went out to check on it, it was sizzling . . . perhaps I should have drained the ground beef better, since the leftover grease was reacting with the insane amounts of gooey cheese. I took it out and let it rest on top of the stove, where it continued to sizzle. . . .

Since this wasn’t my actual dinner for the night, I only sampled a couple bites, but from what I tasted I’m a fan of this “throw random amounts in a bowl all willy nilly” approach. I don’t think it would always work, but in this instance it was a big success. There is a greater cheese to rotini ratio than my previous attempt, which is very important to me as a mac and cheese fan. I just hope I can replicate this result when I next try my hand at it.

In other baking news, my spooky ghosty cake was a hit at Folk Group on Monday night. We managed to eat most of it, which was good, since I hadn’t even cut into it yet (even though I made it Friday night) and I didn’t want it to just sit and become stale. All that remains of the little ghosty is a small bit of his little ghosty head, which was supposed to be eaten by my roommate and her boyfriend, but for some reason wasn’t.

In crafting news, I NEED to finish knitting up a scarf I started this summer. It’s starting to get really cold here, and this scarf is promising to be super warm and comfy once it’s finished. I just need to dig up that pattern to remember how to do it.

Baking

Baking Go Leor

It seems I’ve been remiss in posting about what I bake. Classes, exams, and utter exhaustion haven’t completely kept me from baking, but for some reason it’s kept me from posting.

Let’s see if I can remember everything. . . .

I made something called a “French Breakfast Puff”, which is basically a baked doughnut hole. I didn’t follow the recipe and presentation suggestions exactly, but I thought they were still very yummy. They must have been, since they were all gone within a couple of days.

There have also been brownies. LOTS AND LOTS of brownies. But somehow I only managed to take a photo of one of the batches. These ones were good. They could have been better if I had taken them out of the oven a couple minutes sooner, but I made the glaze that the recipe suggested, and it really helped to moisten them up.

The second batch of brownies I made were AMAZING. They got the approval of a friend who very much prefers boxed brownie mixes. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of them. I had kept meaning to, but they just kind of disappeared before I got the chance.

I also tried my hand at a baked mac and cheese recently. It was a good start, but for future mac and cheese endeavors, I need MORE CHEESE. You would think that cheddar, Parmesan, cottage, and  mozzarella cheese would be enough, but I think I need to up the cheddar cheese because it wasn’t quite gooey enough. I’ll try again sooner rather than later, seeing as how I still have cheese left and I don’t want it to spoil. Note to self: buy ricotta cheese, too.

The other day while I was procrastinating in my mid-term studying, I made “granola bars”. I put them in quotes because they’re not really granola bars, but more like a granola cake of sorts. They still taste really good, but I need to have something to drink with them because, while they’re not dry, they make me really thirsty. I added chopped up chocolate chunks, raisins, and peanut butter to them, even though the recipe only called for mini chocolate chips. I had been craving a raisin-y something, so I figured why not, and hey, peanut butter goes GREAT with both of those things. I only have a few left, so I really should get on that whole picture-taking thing soon.