Study Week? Let’s Bake Instead (Or in addition too, I suppose).

14 May

Study week has hit Cornell, and everyone is holed up studying for finals.  It is not like the rest of the year.  People turn intense, and the atmospheric pressure intensifies slightly (seemingly) as a result.  What to do to combat the evils of quiet hours and boring study material?  Bake!  I know, you’re thinking, what could be more fun than accounting practice problems and studying sexual harassment cases for Human Resources?  While it’s a close call (ha ha) I will take baking any day!  Besides, I could at least write it off as studying for my Culinary Theory and Practice class.

The first thing I made–before study week came around–was a rhubarb upside-down-muffin-bread pudding.  It sounds random, but the thing was a product of ingredients I had on hand.  I am admittedly a person who eats just the top of the muffin (not only because I prefer it, but also because a whole muffin is too much), and therefore, I found myself with a squirrel-like collection of muffin butts in my freezer.  Why did I save them?  I really don’t know.  Don’t judge.  It sounds quite sick, especially because I didn’t even wrap them but rather left them open to stale and burn.  Grody.  But perfect for bread pudding application.

After making a batter with eggs, brown sugar, and cream, I dumped in my diced muffin butts.  Then, I poured honey in the bottom of a cake pan and arranged sliced rhubarb over it.  After pouring over my bread pudding mixture, I baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes.  While it was still warm, I turned it out and found a beautiful result:

tart rhubarb plus too-sweet cupcakes from dining hall=balance. namaste.

Later, during the actual study week, I decided to bake a pie.  I had a bunch of extra pie crust from a cooking contest I participated in over the weekend, and since it baked so well before, I couldn’t let it go to waste.  Made with delicious Plugra butter, the crust was rich and flaky.  Since I was not in the mood for a hearty apple pie, I decided to make a banana cream one, since our dining hall had plenty of bananas available for my pie making fun.  While baking the pie crust, I whipped up a cinnamon-brown sugar custard for the filling.  I usually don’t make pudding with flour, but since I had no cornstarch, I went for it and got dazzling results.  After both crust and custard cooled, I assembled my pie, topping it with bananas and toasted coconut.  Delicious.

perfect creamy to crunchy ratio.

I made my last study week baked good this morning…at five AM…I guess my brain was not used to sleep after I only got three hours the night before.  However, all good things came of it: I decided to make cookies since I had been doing more cake/pie things recently, and they came out beautifully.  A little cake-ier than a usual chocolate chip cookie (I used a quasi-chocolate chip cookie approach, minus the chocolate chips), the cookies came out screaming to be sandwiched with some kind of sexy filling.

Caramel seemed appropriate, since I had added a pinch each of cinnamon and smoked paprika to the cookie batter.  Unfortunately, I went a few seconds too dark on the caramel, so I had to add a few things to make it more palatable. Some salt, peanut butter, cream cheese, and butter later, the caramel was a tasty, satiny spread.  My suite mates and I were very happy with the results.

tower of cookie porn.

I urge you to follow suit: when you find yourself adrift in a sea of work, surrounded by people who would rather lose sanity studying enough to get an A+, bake something.  It’s therapeutic, it doesn’t take much time out of your own study efforts, and you get awesome eats for your study session out of it!  All good things, my people.

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One Response to “Study Week? Let’s Bake Instead (Or in addition too, I suppose).”

  1. Sig Friedman May 14, 2011 at 1:55 am #

    Hi..

    Your Grandma sends me some of your writings and frankly I wish you were mine..I love your style, your sense of humor and your creativity. Next time you find yourself in Green Valley, AZ. let’s collaborate..I’m pretty hot in the kitchen.

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