Success!

Last weekend, Heather and I decided we felt like being domestic and Heather, despite not being a fan of baked goods, suggested we adjourn to the kitchen for a bit of baking. We settled on pretzels – but to keep things interesting, we each chose a different recipe. Heather chose Cinnamon Raisin Pretzels:

They turned out really yummy! I think they’re more of a quick bread shaped into a pretzel (there’s no yeast and no poaching step), but that doesn’t keep them from being tremendously tasty.

I chose a more traditional recipe that I’ve been wanting to make for ages! It wasn’t hard at all, but, you know me, I sort of started to lose interest towards the end. Thank goodness Heather enjoyed the shaping process and offered to help me out, otherwise I probably would’ve just shaped them into small lumps of dough and called it a day.

Like I said, it wasn’t hard – and it wasn’t even very fiddly, but it did just take a while. And it made a ton!

That’s only about half of them. We left half of each of our recipes in Heather’s freezer (hopefully) to be enjoyed later – Heather, you’ll have to let me know how baking them off goes now that they’re frozen!

HOLY BEJEESUS, MAKE THESE! NOOOOOOW!!1!

I was going to schedule this post to publish later in the week, but now that I’ve actually tasted these, that would be cruel of me. You need to make these Apple Cheddar Scones now.

I mean now. Go. Do it. I’ll wait to talk about them until you’ve tried them and all you can do is nod in agreement because your mouth is full of extraordinarily delicious scone.

ISN’T IT AMAZING?!?!

When I saw the post on Smitten Kitchen about these, I thought ‘Oh, that sounds good, I’ll give them a try even though I’m not super thrilled about scones (they tend to be a little dry) nor am I crazy about things that involve mushy apples.’ I had no idea. They’re absolutely perfect – they’re not dry at all, they’re moist and lovely and just sweet enough. I used demerara sugar because I wanted a coarser presence of sweet and crunchy on the top and it’s a perfect contrast between the smoky hint of the cheddar and the apple overtones (every once in a while you get a little chunk of apple, but mostly it’s just a soft flavor).

That’s the only picture I have because I kept thinking ‘Okay, I’ll just take a few more bites and then I’ll take a picture to show them what the inside looks like.’ Yeah, that didn’t work out – I basically inhaled the thing.

I froze the rest because, as Smitten Kitchen rightly points out, scones are really only good the day of baking (and I might even say minutes after baking).

But I really want to go bake off another one…

YA: Fiction

Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? by Louise Rennison

I’m ashamed that it took me so long to realize that this book was out! It’s the last Georgia Nicholason book and I didn’t read it until it was well into paperback! SHOCKING!

And I’m sad that it’s over now… Georgia’s voice is still as funny as ever – I wish I were friends with her and the Ace Gang. They’re hilarious! There are appearances by everyone in the (large) cast of characters here, including, of course, Angus – it’s nice to get a glimpse of all her eccentric friends, neighbors, and relatives in the final book.

The main drama in the final book is who Georgia will end up with – will it be Masimo, the charming Italian dreamboat or Dave the Laugh, all around good guy and obviously (to everyone but Georgia) completely smitten with her? I bet you can guess, but I’ll refrain from saying anything further. 😉

My rating: A (Though I’m still grumpy that they changed the jacket design halfway through the series…)

 

And still MORE baking!

I just love fall flavors – apples, pumpkins…pumpkins. And pumpkins! So when I saw these Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling and Pecan Streusel, I couldn’t resist.

And I’m glad I didn’t! The recipe calls them muffins, so I do, too, but my friends at work quickly declared them cupcakes (not that it stopped me from eating them for breakfast!). I noticed that in mine, there’s basically a giant hole in them between the top of the cupcake and the cream cheese filling – I can only assume that’s the result of my forgetting to put the streusel on them until they’d already been in the oven for about five minutes. Doesn’t matter – they still taste fine! Also, I left that cream cheese mixture in the freezer for two hours and it never did harden up enough to be anywhere near slice-able. But dolloping it on seems to have worked just fine. Yay!

IR Sci-fi/Fantasy

Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil by Derek Landy

And Skulduggery is back in fine form! The last book was a bit of a placeholder, but that’s to be expected with such a long story to tell. I don’t have a lot to say because I don’t want to give things away and if you haven’t started reading the Skulduggery Pleasant books by this time, my review of this one will probably not convince to do so now, but it was a good one – relationships are progressing, the big picture is becoming more clear, and the stakes are getting higher. And we have a bit of tragedy at the end of this one – I’m keeping my fingers crossed because Skulduggery seems to be able to pull of miracles with the best of them, but it’s not looking good. Also, a bit of a cliffhanger with a new Big Bad introduced – someone Skulduggery has (or, rather, hasn’t) met before, but seems fairly intimidating to say the least.

Can’t wait for the next one!

My rating: A-

And new mac and cheese!

I usually use Alton Brown’s recipe – it’s quick, it’s easy, and I don’t have to fire up the oven for it. But the other day I really felt like a baked macaroni and cheese. So I turned to Ina, as you do.

Very good! I added frozen peas and frozen corn before spooning everything into the baking dish and putting it in the oven and they turned out nice and crunchy, a perfect addition to mac and cheese!

A word of warning, this recipe does make a metric TON of macaroni and cheese. Ina says it serves 6 to 8, but there’s about a third of it left and I’ve gotten 11 servings out of it so far. I’ll definitely halve the recipe next time. I mean, it’s good, but I really don’t fancy eating it for the rest of my life which is how long it would take me to get through it all.