8.31.2012

Tailgating Treats (Free Ebook!)

It's football season! Celebrate with fun and easy football-themed treats!

Last week I started my senior year at the University of Alabama, Roll Tide. As much as I'm not looking forward to graduating (I mean, where did the first three years go?), I'm super excited about the football games this year. I live near the stadium, so all my friends usually come over beforehand. If my parents happen to have tickets to a game, they bring TONS of food with them. We'll all pig out and then walk around the quad for a little bit. Maybe get some deep fried Oreos and listen to the Million Dollar Band. I love the atmosphere on gameday. Did you know that as many as 150,000 people come to Tuscaloosa on gameday? Bryant Denny holds over 100,000 people, so that means that about 50,000 show up just to be there. To tailgate, socialize, and be where it all happens. To cheer on the Crimson Tide to victory.

A big part of tailgating is food. Just today, one of my teachers asked the class what they were planning on cooking for the first game tomorrow, even though it isn't a home game. Football and food just go together. Like cake and frosting. Which is why I put together this little ebook!

Tailgating Treats has eleven fun recipes you can make for your next tailgate or game-viewing-get-together! These recipes are easily adaptable for any football team, and include directions for baking from scratch or from boxed cake mixes. 

Did I mention...it's free? Because it is. :)


If you'd like to download Tailgating Treats, here are a few things you should know!

1. This ebook is a pdf, and I used a website called E-Junkie to host it. All you have to do is click the "Add to Cart" button below.
2. It'll take you to "shopping cart" on E-Junkie and will look like you're going to buy the ebook, but the price is set to $0.00, so it's free.
3. Then it will ask you for your name and email address. You will not get annoying emails from E-Junkie. They require an email address because they'll email you a receipt. That's all!
4. After that, it'll take you to a page that says your transaction was completed, or something like that, and there will be a download button. So click away!
5. When you download the pdf and open it, click "View" on the top menu. Then click "Page Display" and then "Two Up". That way two pages will be displayed at a time (which is how I designed it in InDesign not knowing that it wouldn't do that automatically in Adobe reader).

Then you're good to go!

DOWNLOAD TAILGATING TREATS FOR FREE
Add to Cart


If you decided to make any of the recipes in this ebook, I'd love to hear about it! Feel free to email me at thecollegiatebaker@yahoo.com or send me a Tweet at @CollegiateBaker!


And as always,
Roll Tide

8.29.2012

Birthday Cake Popsicles

First of all, I'd like to start this post with some good news. My ebook is almost finished! I just have to add a few things, some last minute decorations, and then I'm going to email it off to be proofread and edited! Yay!

I actually thought I deleted it the other day. Like all one thousand copies of it on my laptop. Actually, I thought I deleted an entire folder of all the things I've ever written ever. Poems, short stories, all the songs I wrote in high school during my songwriting phase. Any idea I've ever had about poems, stories, or songs. I almost cried. But then my roomie came to the rescue and reminded me that there's a recycle bin icon on my desktop. Whew!

So, now on the point of this blog post. Popsicles!




I bought a little popsicle mold from Walmart for a dollar toward the beginning of the summer, and I'm not sure why I haven't used it until now. It's really nice to walk into my apartment, all sweaty from walking across campus, and open the freezer and see popsicles.

Unfortunately, when I attempted to use the popsicle mold, I couldn't get the popsicles out. The mold came with little handle/stick things, but they just kept sliding right out. I tried regular popsicle sticks and they did the same thing. Other blogs said to run warm water over the mold and they would slide out, but that didn't work either. So I made them a second time in paper Dixie cups, which I tore off after they were frozen.


I was trying to think of flavors I haven't seen in popsicle form recently, and landed on Birthday Cake. I've probably mentioned this before, but I love it when desserts or foods cross over into other desserts or foods. Like birthday cake ice cream. Or s'mores brownies. Or chocolate chip cookie pie. I could go on and on.

BIRTHDAY CAKE POPSICLES
Makes about 6 Dixie cup popsicles

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons yellow cake mix
Popsicle sticks (can be found at Michael's or other craft stores)
Paper Dixie cups
Sprinkles (optional)
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or a medium sized bowl and a hand mixer, whip whipping cream on medium-high speed for about five minutes, or until fluffy.
  • Next, add milk and mix until incorporated.
  • Add the vanilla and powered sugar, and mix well.
  • Lastly, add the yellow cake mix and whip for about two more minutes.
  • Pour some sprinkles into the bottom of each paper cup. Fill the cups with the popsicle "batter" and transfer them to the freezer.
  • Freeze for an hour and then insert the popsicle sticks. Freeze for three more hours or over night.

These popsicles were super easy to make, so I think anyone living on campus, in a dorm, or an apartment could make them as well. If you have paper cups, then you're good to go! The only thing I might change in the future is the size because they're a little small for popsicles, but that does mean you can eat more than one. ;)

And just a little school update: It's going great so far! I really enjoying my classes, especially my food writing class. It's a creative writing class, but we're focusing on food, how food grows, farms, and farmers. My teacher is planning some awesome field trips to farmers' markets, gardens, and one or two local restaurants. I'm taking a stress management class, which is really about being healthy. So between those two classes and being in charge of bake sales for two different organizations I'm involved with, there's a lot to look forward to this semester!

8.19.2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Marshmallows

It feels like it's been awhile since my last post. I've been a little busy lately, mainly because I finally got a job a couple of weeks ago. And because I'm writing this ebook, which is almost done! Earlier this week I realized I've been baking so much for the ebook that I've been neglecting my blog. So I finally made something I've been dying to make ever since I saw them months and months and months ago.

Marshmallows. And not just any marshmallows. Mint chocolate chip marshmallows.




I thought marshmallows would be difficult to make. For some reason, I've always classified marshmallows as being on an "intermediate" level, or for more experienced bakers. But it went really well for my first time making them! The only real problem I had was that there is a lot of corn syrup involved, and once it's heated in a saucepan with sugar and water, it sticks to everything. Ev-er-y-thing. I had to do some serious scrubbing on my stove top, but it was worth it. 

I also really enjoy the transformation that takes place when marshmallows are being made. First you start out with unflavored gelatin soaking in ice cold water, then you pour in a steaming sugar-syrup mixture, whip it on high for 12 minutes, and you end up with a super fluffy mixture that turns into soft and puffy marshmallows aftersitting in the refridgerator for four hours. It's cool to watch. 

Follow me on Instagram! My user name is elizabethbranch. :)

MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP MARSHMALLOWS
I used Alton Brown's recipe for regular homemade marshmallows. This recipe is as close to perfect as it gets. The directions are easy to follow and it's pretty quick. 

There are three things you need to add to this recipe to make mint chocolate chip marshmallows. So in addition to the ingredients from Alton Brown's recipe, you'll need mint/peppermint extract (instead of vanilla extract), green food coloring, and a 12 oz package of mini chocolate chips. 
  • Follow Alton Brown's recipe up until you're supposed to add the vanilla extract. (Only whip the mixture for 12 minutes. The recipe says 12-15, but I whipped mine for 13 and the mixture was a little stiff).
  • Instead of vanilla extract, add 1/2 tsp peppermint extract and a very small amount of green food coloring, maybe 1/4th of a teaspoon. You can add a little more if you need to after that. 
  • Next, reduce the speed of the mixer to medium-high, and add half of the mini chocolate chips. 
    • When I did this step, I took the bowl off my stand mixer and tried to stir in regular sized chocolate chips because the store I went to didn't have the mini ones. It didn't go very well. I had a hard time stirring the marshmallow mixture and the chocolate chips started melting a little. I'm pretty sure they all ended up in a glob somewhere instead of evenly spread throughout. So I think it would be better to add the mini chocolate chips while the mixer is still on.
  • Then continue on with Alton Brown's recipe.
These marshmallows were incredible on s'mores. There was a little get-together at my friend's (and fellow s'mores addict) apartment last night and we made them. They would also probably be great in hot chocolate or coffee. Actually, I'm not sure why I haven't put them in my coffee yet. 


These marshmallows aren't very pretty. It's because I whipped them for too long and had a hard time spreading them out in the pan. I cut some of them into squares and then realized I have heart shaped cookie cutters. I used one of those to cut out the rest and they were much cuter! If you use cookie cutters, dip them in powdered sugar before you try to use them. It makes in easier to cut into the marshmallows. 

I've been experimenting with my photography a little bit, as you can probably tell. I'm trying to find the best spot to use natural light in my apartment because sometimes my light box works and sometimes it doesn't. I'm not sure what exactly is going on. 

Look out for my ebook coming soon!! Hopefully in the next week. Especially because school starts on Wednesday. 

I'm really looking forward to it, especially because all my friends are back in town. I had some really fun times this summer, but it was kind of boring, too. There are some exciting things happening this semester, but I'm also kind of conflicted about it. This is my last year of college. Where did it all go? I'm not sure, but I'm going to make count!

8.05.2012

Dirt Cake

This might be one of my most favorite recipes ever. Ever.

It's probably because it has Oreos in it.




One of the reasons why I like this dessert so much is because my mom and I used to make it all the time when I was younger. She would mix up the pudding part and I would go outside on the back porch with the package of Oreos and hit it with this thing...I'm not sure what it's called, but it's from my mom's knife set and has a wooden handle with a long metal stick and kind of resembles a magic wand...I know you know what I'm talking about. Then my mom would pour the pudding in the bowl, I'd cover it in crushed Oreos, maybe eat a couple pieces, and then my mom would pour on another layer or pudding.


This was the first time I made this recipe completely on my own, and I was surprised at how easy it was! It's really not that surprising, but it's been years since we last made it. And now I want to share it with you!

I halved this recipe in the pictures above, but this is the whole recipe.

DIRT CAKE
Granny's Recipes 003

20 oz package of Oreos
2 3 oz (or 3.5 oz) packages of instant vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
1/2 stick of butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
16 oz container of cool whip
Gummie worms (optional)
  • In a medium bowl, mix the two packages of vanilla pudding and the milk. 
  • In a second small/medium bowl, blend butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar.
  • In a food processor, blender, or a ziploc bag with a hammer (that's what I did), crush up the Oreos. You do not want a bunch of crumbs. You want the Oreos to be in chunks, but there will be some crumbs in there, too. Then you can transfer the Oreos to a bowl. 
  • Now go back to the first bowl and stir the pudding. It should be thicker now. 
  • Add the cream cheese mixture and half the container of cool whip to the pudding and mix well. 
  • In a large clear bowl (clear so you can see the layers), pour a layer of pudding. Cover it with a layer of Oreos. Repeat until you're out of pudding and Oreos. 
  • Decorate with gummie worms if you want. I was actually kind of sad I forgot to buy them.
  • And enjoy!

Another reason why I love this recipe is because when it comes to choosing Oreos and pudding, there are tons of options. I literally stood in front of the Oreos at Publix for awhile trying to decide on what kind of Oreos I wanted to use. You could do chocolate pudding with the chocolate filled Oreos. You could do chocolate pudding with mint Oreos, which I was very tempted to do. Then there are birthday cake Oreos, the double decker Oreos with chocolate and vanilla filling, and then there are seasonal Oreos. So many possibilities. 

I also made a version of this recipe for my football season ebook! Which I'm hoping will be finished by the end of next week. I still have two recipes I need to make. But I used the birthday cake Oreos and tinted the pudding green. It turned out really well. Can't want for y'all to see it!