Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why couldn't Haman have a round hat?

This coming weekend is Purim and since we practice equal-opportunity holiday celebrating around these parts (especially if it involves specialized food in the form of dessert--we end up celebrating A LOT) I broke out of my thesis-writing mode for a few hours this past weekend to make some hamantaschen (ie: triangle cookies). Originally, Aaron and I planned to spend a while on Sunday doing it and we intended to make enough to last us and friends the whole week so I made like three or four batches worth of dough on Saturday night. We may have been a bit overzealous in our planning because Aaron got swamped in lab and so I spent Sunday rolling, cutting, filling, folding--repeat. By the end of the day I was cursing Haman and his three-cornered hats. At least if it had been round I would have been able to skip one whole step!

Anyway, I made two different kinds of dough: one that uses cream cheese and butter and another that only uses oil. The second turned out much better (although the first was delicious too) and we had upwards of fifty hamantaschen sitting on our counter Sunday evening. I emphasize had because I just went to take a photo and we are down to our last dozen!!! Don't even do the math, it is too embarrassing. To my credit I did take some to class yesterday and today and gave some away to other people so that probably accounted for, oh, fifteen or twenty cookies, maybe twenty-five. Either way, it is not good. (also, forgive the horrible photo, the light is very bad)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Heart Cookies

You thought I was never making sugar cookies again you say? After my dozens and dozens at Christmas time? Yes, that's what I thought too, but alas, Valentine's day rolled around and I naively forgot the long and tiring process, fooling myself into thinking it was "totally easy and worth it." Plus, my professor wanted to purchase two dozen so I decided I could do it again. It wasn't so bad, I'm getting quicker, but these were not as precise. The ones in the picture above represent the "duds." The cookies who didn't quite make the cut (that is, their decorating was felt too amateur to be sold, but they have since been eaten by Aaron nonetheless).

I also made a quick clementine cake for a superbowl party on sunday. It has a total of five ingredients and takes all of twenty minutes to prepare (not including the two hours you have to boil the clementines). So, if you have a box of clementines, or other citrus fruit, sitting around I highly suggest you click on the  link above to find the recipe. It is delicious.

On a non-baking note, I lectured to 170 undergraduates today in the class I TA for. The professor was out of town so I was filling in on the topic of High Renaissance painting. Normally, this would be awesome, but I came down with a nasty case of laryngitis yesterday so I was squeaking my way through an hour and fifteen minutes of lecture today. It was still fun, though and it feels pretty good to talk about something you really like for that long.

Lastly, I wanted to post the recipe for the peanut butter-cup cupcakes that I've posted on here before. I realized that I didn't post the recipe with the picture and I guarantee you that these are worth making (at least for your birthday).

Chocolate Cupcakes
from love and olive oil

1 cup soy milk
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. canola oil
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together the soymilk and vinegar and set aside until curdled. Then, add the sugar, oil, vanilla and almond extract to the soy milk and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add these dry ingredients until the wet ingredients in two batches.

Pour the batter into the cupcake liners and drop a mini-Reese cup into each tin (unless you are using mini-cupcake tins, in which case you should cut the peanut butter cups into fourths). Bake normal size cupcakes for 18-20 minutes and mini cupcakes for 8-10 minutes.

Peanut Butter frosting

10 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1/2 c. butter, room temp
2/3 c. peanut butter
4 c. powdered sugar

Beat the butter and cream cheese together until fluffy. add the powdered sugar until desired sweetness. Last, beat in the peanut butter until smooth.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

snowed in...again.

The subject pretty much says it all, another snowstorm has hit Charlottesville and we are snowed in. This is the third in the last week and they are predicting more for Tuesday and next weekend. We accidentally went to the grocery store on Wednesday night to pick up a few things and were greeted by lines snaking around the store. It was as if people thought the world was ending. The bread aisle was nearly empty! Luckily, we knew in advance so I was able to bring all of the necessary books home to do my work for the weekend. Unfortunately, I've been hit with a nasty cold and have been barely standing all day today meaning that my work has definitely not been done.

All of this snow also means that we are less ready to take Joe outside and for walks so he has a case of cabin fever. Since he was driving us CRAZY we decided to take him for a long walk this morning (despite the snow). If you know me, you know I hate snow and winter and anything associated with being cold so this is proof of my undying love for Joe. I also managed to snap a photo of him during his post-walk nap. The walk helped to tire him out for about, mmm 30 minutes.

Here's hoping the snow stops soon!