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Saturday, April 12, 2008

So, the comprehensive exam is over, what a huge relief. I think it went really well, but I'll wait to see my grade before I get too happy. Next up on the school list is my Tabla practical and written final on Tuesday...yes thats right, the tabla. From there, it doesn't really slow down until the end of the following week - finals week. But with the comprehensive exam over and done with, at least I can relax a teeny bit.

Anyway! Back to baking... I made these little Lemon Cream Cheese cookies for Easter (Wow, I guess I had been studying for quite a while...). I did change it up a wee little bit from the original... I used my favorite conversion tool to halve it, and then halve it again. I wanted first to make only a half batch because I didn't think that many people would be attending. Then, I halved it again because I wanted to make some with Lemon, and then to leave out the lemon flavor in the other batch for people who don't care for that in their cookies. For the Non-Lemon ones, all I did was omit the zest and juice, and add an eensy bit (I think I did 1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon) of Vanilla Extract and a wee bit of heavy cream to make up for some of the liquid I wasn't adding in lemon juice.

Also, instead of Martha's ginormous (and ugly?) bow shape, I wanted to make some bite size, so I stuck the dough in a bag, put on a piping tip, and made small little shapes - they were only a little larger in diameter than a quarter.

They were baked on parchment paper, and topped off with a sprinkling of confectioner's sugar when they were almost cooled. They were pretty simple to do, and had a subtle flavor, but everyone loved them. They were pretty much all gone by the end of the night. The lemon ones had a more delicate flavor and a lighter melt in your mouth texture, but they were both very very good. Would definitely make again!

Shortly after Easter, the girls I am going with on the Italy study-abroad trip this May-June had a Get-To-Know-Each-Other Dinner. Being me, I offered to bring dessert. As I didn't have a lot of time, but wanted to make something real good, I made something I saw Giada do on FoodNetwork. Now...I'm not proud of this...but...I used store bought sugar cookie dough. Listen! I was studying for exams, preparing for presentations, writing papers, COME ON, its a totally valid excuse. Plus, I did give it a bit of flair.
With one third of the package, I made these.

1/4 Teaspoon balls of ganache... this part was a little tough. Make sure it is very chilled before you attempt to do this, and do not expect them to come out of the teaspoon easily. They still baked up just fine for me though.

Ganache ballies wrapped in a little snake of sugar cookie dough, rolled in granulated sugar.

To have a little variation, I also took some of the pre-made dough and rolled it in cinnamon sugar...

And rolled some in green sugar, topped with one red heart to get in with the Italy theme a little bit...

The Giada black and white cookies were really good. The cookie part got thin and crispy, with a crunch from the sugar, and with the ganache center it was a nice combination. I thought briefly about taking some and rolling them in cinnamon sugar instead of regular sugar, but I ran out and was too rushed to mix more. If I were to make them again, I might try that - the dark chocolate and cinnamon might be a good mix...and I also might try it with home made sugar cookie dough.

Hopefully I'll get to some more baking soon! I'll end with a picture that perfectly represents my fusion of baking and art... :)


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