Thursday, January 31, 2008

Betty Crocker, I'm your gal!

Sorry for the brief hiatus. It's been a bad couple of days.
I don't have much of an update, other than to say that I submitted a cookie recipe to the Betty Crocker Bake Life Sweeter contest, so please keep your fingers crossed for me!

I am loath to use prepackaged cookie mixes, but I made two batches of cookies yesterday: Betty Crocker Boston Cream Pie Cookies and Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Blueberry Pancake Cookies.

The pancake cookies were literally made by the seat of my pants--I was mixing Bisquick and sugar cookie mix and guessing milk and egg amounts, but they ended up pretty damn good. And, since I have a fantastic cupcake decorating thing with a Bismarck tip for fillings, I was able to inject each cookie with pancake syrup. It was kind of neat, actually.

I'll have to post photos as soon as I get them uploaded.

In other news, I've begun doing headshot photography, and I took some amazing shots of my friend Ricky two days ago that I can't wait to have edited and print-worthy. I also took about 1000 photos of the dress rehearsal of UF's "The Real Thing" last night. So I'll be working on those photos as well.

At some point today, if I'm able to make my brain work for long enough, I'm going to have to put together a batch of my Buck's Fizz Cupcakes...because we open tomorrow night! I cannot believe it. Where did January go?


Monday, January 28, 2008

The Buck's Fizz Cupcake

It looks like the winning recipe is the Orange Buttermilk Cupcake with the Champagne Filling/Frosting.
So I'll be Buck's Fizzing on Friday....

In other news, Betty Crocker's having a baking contest that apparently ends in two days. Luckily, I have an idea for a recipe that I'll be able to throw together tomorrow and test by the evening.

In other other news, I was apparently nominated for an award at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for my dramaturgy on last year's production of The Man of Mode at UF. Which is sweet. Unfortunately, no one told me I was nominated, so I obviously never submitted the application materials, so I'm disqualified, or at least ineligible to win.

Anyway, I need sleep, and possibly some therapy.
Speaking of which, no medication, starting tomorrow.
It'll be my first day as a clean human being again. Wish me luck.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cookies and Cupcakes and Icing, Oh My!

I was in the kitchen today from 9 am to 7 pm, just working on two batches of cupcakes. I think I might be insane. Especially because I was in the kitchen all night working on carrot cake cookies.

Why have I been so insane? Well, I had a ton of carrots left over from last week, when I made soup for a sick friend, and I didn't want them to go bad. And I wasn't in the mood for baking a cake, so carrot cake cookies seemed like the best way to go.

I pretty much modified my basic sugar cookie recipe by increasing the amount of brown sugar and adding a bunch of lovely spices (like cinnamon and cardamom), and then mixing up a batch of cinnamon cream cheese frosting and sandwiching it between two cookies. Beautiful.

This morning, I broke open my new set of cake decorating tools and made my carrot cake cookies legit--and then, with the leftover icing, I decorated some sugar cookies.

After that, I got my Buck's Fizz Cupcakes started. Tomorrow I'm doing a cake tasting to decide on the recipe that I will use, so today I spent my 10 hours in the kitchen making custards and cupcakes and frostings, and praying that something would come out right.

The two versions I ended up with are Orange Custard filled Champagne Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting and Champagne Custard filled Orange Buttermilk Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream frosting. My roommates keep eying the cupcakes as they walk into the kitchen...I'm excited to see what my friends think tomorrow.

And now, the photos:




Champagne Cupcakes with Orange Filling



Orange Buttermilk Cupcakes with Champagne Filling


And my lovely sous-chef, Frida (who helped me eat the leftover carrots)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bad Days and Good Cookies

When I woke up yesterday, I knew it was going to be one of those days. And it was. I went to a fairly pointless class (which required a ride to campus that was longer than the class itself), was turned down for a photography job because i'm overqualified (someone explain that to me, please), didn't get a babysitting gig because they need someone who can commit to more than a year, and couldn't manage to do a single productive thing because things just kept coming up. One top of that, I had a nightmare that was so horrible that I was almost afraid to go back to sleep last night.

When I came home, I was frustrated. I don't know why it happens this way, but whenever I'm having one of those days, I end up baking my Better Than Chocolate Chip muffins. Maybe it's because they're my signature recipe--the first one that I ever really fell in love with and one that I have committed to memory and can probably put together in my sleep. (Although yesterday I decided to at least change it up a little by making them Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Coffeecake muffins, topped off with a pinch of nutmeg...delectable!)

It took me maybe 30 minutes total to get a batch thrown together, and, while that was a really nice bit of kitchen based meditation, it wasn't enough. So I decided to make another cookie recipe.

I wanted to do something different...Not something that anyone can do or anyone would even have thought of doing. I have no idea how or why this recipe came to me, but when it did, it hit me like a ton of bricks, or at least several pounds of packed brown sugar: Boston Cream Pie Cookies! How perfect is that? All of the glory of a Boston Cream Pie--Vanilla custard, chocolate glaze, cakey goodness--captured in a portable cookie form. Like my Apple Pie Cookies, to which my sister Katie is addicted, the Boston Cream Pie Cookie is a piece of inspired insanity.




I had far too much fun making these. Especially since I spent some time at Target yesterday searching for a double boiler, and was able to use it to make the chocolate glaze.

And I love my roommates/official taste testers. They make baking an adventure, because the moment between the exclamations about how good the house smells and the first bite is pretty much all the excitement I need in life.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cookie Goodness...

The last few days have been beyond stressful. Therefore, I ended up baking about 160 cookies the other day and then I attempted (and failed at) a batch of Spritz cookies this morning as well as managed a sloppy batch of sugar cookies with royal icing this evening.

So I know I should try to actually post something coherent here, but I'm just going to let the pictures do the speaking for me for now. Sorry for the poor photo quality and the sloppy looking icing. I need to go get some better decorating tools...


Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Real Thing...

I'm working as a dramaturg on a show called "The Real Thing." And there's a scene in which the characters drink a concoction known to the British as "Buck's Fizz." It's pretty much a Mimosa, but with different proportions of champagne and orange juice.

Why is this of any consequence? Because I love baking for my cast and crew. I show up at every rehearsal with a different confection, and I want to do something special before we go into hell week. SO.

Buck's Fizz Cupcakes.

Be prepared people. I'm working on a recipe, and it's going to be crazy.

Stay tuned,

CoffeHouse Cookies

Over Christmas break, I got bored. I was sitting in my kitchen (in the corner by the bread box, which I claimed as my perch for the entirety of my stay at home), clicking from food blog to food blog, when I stumbled upon a recipe for green tea cookies. I thought to myself, "What a neat idea! If only I had Matcha powder..."

I realized, however, that we did have a surplus of chai tea in the pantry, just waiting to be commandeered for a crazy cookie recipe. I found a recipe for chai syrup and tweaked a basic sugar cookie recipe, and was left with, arguably, the most awesome cookies ever: Vanilla Chai Tea Latte Cookies.

Of course, all that vanilla and tea needs to be offset by some chocolate and coffee, so I made up a Mocha Caramel Macchiato cookie...and promptly lost the recipe. When I woke up this morning and decided that I needed to bake, I realized how necessary it would be for me to make some new Mocha Caramel Macchiatos. So.

I took a double chocolate cookie recipe, added some brown sugar, caramelized some white sugar, threw in some espresso to taste, and topped it off with a dollop of cream cheese frosting. Voila! Much, much better than my first recipe, frankly. I think the brown sugar did it; rather than a crunchy, thin cookie, I was left with a chewy mound of tastiness.

God, I love baking. There is nothing more fun than playing with sugar. And getting absolutely covered in frosting.

I need to make some Peanut Butter & Jelly and Peanut Butter, Honey, and Banana Cookies for my dad's birthday. Looks like I'll be covered in sugar again tomorrow!


Friday, January 18, 2008

Past Projects...

I figured that I'd post a few photos of my past projects, before diving headfirst into future projects on this blog. I'm hoping that photobucket allows this whole slideshow thing to work...I'm not the world's most technologically minded person, and I tend to suffer through several trials when it comes to uploading things on the internet...

The good news is that Florida Players, the student-run theatre group on campus, needs a caterer for their end-of-the-year banquet. And my best friend is the one in charge of the hiring. All I have to say about that is that baking for a theatre banquet combines my three absolute favorite things: baking, drama, and not being a broke college student.

Maybe I should work on the whole "becoming a caterer" thing. I think that might work out well.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Well, I suppose it had to happen eventually. I've spent enough time reading other women's foodie blogs; it's about time I started one of my own.

It's been a while since I've kept a regular blog, so we'll see how this goes...But I'm beginning to feel as though it's best that I keep a record of the record amount of baking I've been doing in the last few months.

So here goes:

A little about me:
I'm a student in my last year of college, and realizing that I've had it with academia. Don't get me wrong; I love reading, and I love writing. I've just begun to realize that my degree is going to do jack squat for me as soon as I make it out of these hallowed halls. After all, I've only done about 2 years of undergrad, and already I have too many credits. So they're kicking me out on my ass with a diploma, a suma cum laude, and a taste for quoting Nabokov and Stoppard at odd intervals.

I started baking in my last year of high school, when one of my best friends asked for a chocolate cake for his birthday. After the Death by Triple Chocolate Orgasm Cake turned out to be as killer as it sounds, he requested blueberry muffins, which led to my Better than Blueberry and Better than Chocolate Chip Muffin recipes. And then came the Better than Chocolate Chip Cookies...

I only baked during my first year and a half of undergrad when I became too stressed out by reading 3 novels in a week or writing a 20 page paper on the inevitable death of the feminist movement. Soon I started taking the fruits of my kitchen labors to creative writing seminars and musical theatre rehearsals. Everyone--my six roommates included!--appreciated my efforts.

I had to transfer to another college due to financial difficulties, and being here has had its ups and downs...Fortunately, I've had my kitchen to turn to in the darkest of hours. I've been baking almost obsessively since winter break, and my new roommates are very happy about that. I've started writing my own recipes, which has been really refreshing and exciting. I love not knowing how that first bite is going to turn out, and waiting to see my friends' reactions as soon as they've bitten into my latest confection.


That's that.

I will start posting pictures, recipes, etc. as soon as I can!