Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stay with me...

I made some very nice things for all of you, but I left my camera at school when I visited home, so I'm trying to arrange an e-mail attachment of them from my mother. We'll see how that goes. Also, I've been feeling a bit quiet lately. But I won't leave you. So don't leave me, okay?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cake Truffles and Homesick Stories

I haven't been home since February, and I really miss all the comforts and familiarities of being there. 
When I was 12, I went away to summer camp for a week. It was kind of just the thing you did. Upon arriving in my cabin, I could sense that I may have problems. There were cleaning contests. There was singing and inane rules about manners at dinner. And there were hierarchies. Being the youngest in my cabin, I was always last in line. At the age of 12 I had apparently developed a sense of justice, and I knew this was not fair.
And I was deeply, painfully introverted. The friend that I came with found other friends immediately. At the end of the first night, I decided that I was done. So I cried. And cried. And cried. I didn't eat, sleep or attempt to socialize. It became pretty clear, to adults and kids alike, that I was miserable. Instead of sucking it up and dealing, I decided that I need to go home. No amount of cajoling would make me stay. So after three days, my mom picked me up, and I left camp feeling a grim and twisted satisfaction that I'd been the first kid in a while to leave camp early. 

That was a long time ago, obviously. I can assure you, I am much more well adjusted. It did take me a while to get over the homesickness though. I am, and always will be, an introvert. I dunno, maybe camps aren't meant for shy kids? I remember having this feeling that their system had somehow failed people like me. 

So there's my homesick story. I'm not really sure if it's relevant. Sorry if you had to slog through all that if you're just here for the recipe. I made truffles, out of cake mix, powdered sugar, and sweetened condensed milk. The general consensus was that they were delicious. See for yourself. And leave your homesick stories/camp stories in the comments below please ^_^

Cake Truffles

  • 1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup funfetti cake mix
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ Tbsp shortening
  1. In a large bowl, mix condensed milk and 1 cup of powdered sugar until fully combine.
  2. Add cake mix and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Add remaining powdered sugar until dough is pretty firm (like play dough)
  4. Mix in sprinkles.
  5. Form in to cubes (or balls) and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
  6. Pop in freezer for 20 min.
  7. For the chocolate coating, in a microwave safe bowl add chocolate chips and microwave in 30-second increments, making sure to stir after each. Takes about 2 min total.
  8. Stir in shortening until smooth.
  9. Remove cake batter cubes (or balls) and dip into chocolate. Pop back into freezer or fridge to set.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cookie Experiment

Hm. I feel like I've been in sort of a rut lately. I've been in a state of insecurity about my academics, strengths, and I guess life in general. I need to keep remembering what it is that defines me. My slump extended sorta to baking. I sat around for a while yesterday trying to figure out what I wanted to make. I wanted to make something cool. Yeah. But I didn't have anything out of the ordinary in my room. 
In my heart, I wanted chocolate chip cookies. Plain and simple. I don't like to brag, but I definitely have a knack for them. Junior year of high school, we had a cookie baking contest in my chemistry class, in which I won first and second place. For my efforts I was awarded a large, outdated periodic table, a Three Musketeers bar, and the respect and admiration of my peers. You can see this is quite the defining moment for me. 

Anyway. Honestly, I prefer the recipe on the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag. Don't judge. They never, ever go wrong. Ever. My snobbish side kept me from making them (and perhaps a bit of fear that they wouldn't be as magical without the aid of the trusty KitchenAid mixer). So I found a different recipe, and some caramels of mysterious origin in my room, and chopped them up and threw them in the dough. I don't really eat caramels. I kinda have TMJ. And hypochondria. 
Also, my brown sugar was a giant chunk, so I beat it with the Divine Comedy until it submitted. 

Almost immediately, things started going wrong with the recipe. My hand mixer, for whatever reason, could not handle the dough. One of the beaters didn't seem to be spinning properly. Then, the ingredients called for one egg, but in the directions, it said add eggs. I added one...and realized that the 2 1/2 cups of flour would totally overpower the wet ingredients. So I added 1 1/2. With a sinking feeling in my heart, I popped the dough in the oven and waited the 10 minutes they were supposed to cook. Nothing happened. I poked a ball tentatively. Pretty raw. I left them a little while longer...I mean, why not? Next time I checked, they looked like cookies. Perfect cookies. Really delicious cookies. 

So I guess I still have my touch. 

Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookies
Adapted from Forever Now and Then

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup caramel bits
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cream sugars and butter together. Add egg, vanilla, mix well.
  3. Mix in flour, salt, baking soda.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips and caramel.
  5. Fold in caramel.
  6. Drop by the tablespoon onto a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-20 min. Sorry that's a huge range.
  7. Remove and eat. Immediately. I have no idea what these taste like cooled.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Super Vegan Chai Brownies

(An apology in advance for the suckishness of these pictures. The lighting in the kitchen is terrible, and it never works out that I can bake in the morning when there's natural light. 

Transitioning back to school after a break is difficult. I've felt really stressy and unfocused this week, and when that happens, I want desperately to stress bake. 

I said stress bake, not stress eat, mind you. Unfortunately, I was lacking in eggs and butter and I DID NOT want to repeat the Choco Rice Nom Nom Slice. I just did a quick search for vegan baked goods, and came up with these vegan chai brownies. Yum. I found the recipe midweek and looked forward to making them so much. I squirmed through torturous studying while visions of brownies danced in my head (hrm...hope I did alright on my Japanese test, haha). 

Anyway, I had some horchata in my room, and decided it would be an excellent idea to brew the tea for the brownies in it. Awesome idea Rebecca. Everyone was impressed by their vegan-ness, but they really didn't require any fancy-ness like some vegan things do. 
These do not photograph well.

Vegan Chai Brownies
adapted from All Recipes


  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup very strongly brewed masala chai (in water, horchata, soy milk, rice milk...whatever you want)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray an 8x8 inch baking pan with cooking spray, and dust lightly with the 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the brewed chai, canola oil, and vanilla extract, just until all ingredients are moistened. If you so desire, add the tea leaves to your batter. I did, it upped the spicyness a lot. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is no longer shiny, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 1 hour before cutting (don't dooo ittt...eat them right away)