Baking, Celtic Thunder

Chaos and Insanity

My first week of the semester wasn’t quite what I expected. For starters, I didn’t think it would only entail two days of classes. You have to hand it to Mother Nature for making my school close down on the day I have three classes. Kudos to her, but missing classes means the course work has to be made up somehow, which brings me to my main complaint. I just had to rework the days that I would hand in assignments in one class, and it did not make me happy one bit, especially the fact that a paper due date was moved to the same day as for another paper. This semester is going to test my abilities to stay on task more than ever before, which means I need to learn how to NOT PROCRASTINATE. I have so many assignments in all of my classes that there is absolutely no wiggle room whatsoever. If I don’t stay on top of everything, it’s going to be disastrous, and I wish that was just an exaggeration.

In preparation of this week, I decided to not honor my decision to avoid baking for a little while and made some blueberry muffins to eat for breakfast as I’m going out the door in the morning. I made the To Die For Blueberry Muffins on Allrecipes.com, and I must say that they really are “to die for.” This also marked the inaugural use of my new muffin tin.

I made some of my own alterations to the recipe, and they turned out wonderfully. I did not use the cinnamon/sugar/butter topping the recipe suggested, but I did sprinkle a tiny bit of sugar on top before I put them in the oven. I also subbed in a half cup of whole wheat flour, and I couldn’t even notice that I did that. Next time around I will probably use half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour, just to make them a bit healthier and more filling. I didn’t have it at the time, but I’ll also use applesauce in place of the vegetable oil, just because.

Unfortunately, the recipe only yielded 11 muffins, probably because I tried to fill the cups too high. I also wish they could have had a more golden coloring, but I didn’t want to leave them in the oven, for fear of drying out. I’m not sure how long I left them in, but any longer and I would not have been happy because they would have been dried out. I took them out at the perfect time to obtain maximum moisture, so in the end the coloring is just an aesthetic thing.

This snow day also yielded additional unfortunate news, beyond the changing due dates. I went to check on Fishy this afternoon to find him floating immobile on his side. He had a good long life, for a little fish, but I will miss him swimming around in his bowl on my desk, blowing bubbles up at the surface along the sides and then popping them. RIP Fishy, May 2010-January 2011.

After today, I really want nothing more than to listen to some Celtic Thunder and bake up some Best Cocoa Brownies, which I think I’ll do as soon as my suitemates clear out.

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Baking

I’ve Been Waiting So Long For This Morning

I’ve been dying to make cinnamon rolls ever since August, but my sad kitchen situation has prevented me from doing so. My lack of counter space makes it hard to roll out dough, and I’m not about to roll it out on my disgusting, porous wooden tables. I wouldn’t do that in my own home, let alone in a college dorm. . . . Who knows what has been put on those tables before, and I certainly don’t want to know. My only option for dough-rolling was to clear off the small counter and scrub it like I’ve never scrubbed before. I was suitably satisfied with my scrubbing abilities afterward, so I felt fine doing it there. All I can say is why did it take me until today to clean the counter? I LOVE my cinnamon roll recipe, and if it wasn’t so unhealthy, I would love to make it more often. As it is, I haven’t made them since July, and I probably won’t make them again until Thanksgiving or Christmas when I’m home with my family. At least then I won’t be required to eat them all by myself. Because that’s such a hard job ;).

They turned out so wonderfully. I took some reviewers’ advice and turned them out into another pan so that all the filling could seep from the bottom of the pan and back into the rolls. Usually it all collects in the bottom and some goes to waste, but this way it can all be consumed, which makes for a very happy me. I also made a cream cheese glaze/frosting to top them off, and I must say it is delicious. Slightly tangy from the cream cheese, but not too tangy, and just runny enough that it can soak into the rolls and go down the sides. My last attempt at it was really frosting-y and thick, but I think this time resulted in the perfect glaze.

Yummy perfection in gooey roll form.

In addition to cinnamon rolls this morning, the quiet and solitude in my suite last night resulted in a delicious home made chocolate pudding. I tried making pudding from scratch before, but it just didn’t turn out as well as I anticipated. Since no one was home, I was able to take my time and slowly bring the pudding mixture to a boil to thicken it. Most recipes generally call for corn starch to be used as a thickener, but I had to substitute in flour, and I was pleased with the results. I also added some chocolate chips in order to give it a deeper chocolate taste, since I don’t like to rely on cocoa powder as the sole chocolate source. I’m definitely going to make this recipe again, keeping my alterations of course. I just wish I had some cool whip or something to make it into a mousse. It’s a very rich pudding, which is surprising, since I made it with skim milk. Goodness knows how it would have turned out with whole milk. It would most certainly be a glorious chocolate death.