01 April 2010

St Paddy's Countdown: Day 1 and Spring Break!

So... This is going to be a terribly sad and boring entry for the time being because I left my beloved camera/USB cord in Arizona... so, until I get it in the mail, Girl of a Thousand Faces will be tragically devoid of pictures. Still, I didn't want to get out of the swing of writing so after giving it a good 5 days to see if a temporary cord would magically turn up, I opted to just suck it up and write an entry anyways.

As you know, I was in Arizona for spring break. It was amazing! Spending lots of quality time with my family, boyfriend, and friends in the glorious sunshine with a car to drive and a kitchen to cook in- what more could I possibly want or need? Needless to say I did a LOT of cooking (and movie-watching, and lounging around, and sleeping... not blog writing though! S and I both lapsed into lovey-dovey too busy for the computer mode.) and got to try out a few new things. For instance, the colcannon I made with my Grandma's mashed potatoes- AMAZING. I'm both happy and disgruntled to say that the two casserole dishes I made of it (incredible how adding a head of cabbage makes a mashed potato recipe grow in size!) disappeared entirely before S and I had a chance to eat more than a couple servings of it.

Yes, I think my parent's might have enjoyed having me whisking a few things up in the kitchen while I was there. My dad was always willing to taste test anything I made and even though my mom started with a convincing "I really shouldn't..." I got her to try pretty much everything. When I decided to cook dinner or anything else in S's apartment I seemed to get equally good results. And when I wasn't cooking something, I was eating out with S or my parents at one of my many favorite restaurants. Overall, it was a very successful week of food. Now back to the bon, and an orange for breakfast, salad for lunch, and weird eyebrow-raising dinner- usually in the form of a "bar" (nacho bar, pasta bar, noodle bar, chili bar...).

Anyways, it's pretty obvious I love cooking, and the fact that I CAN'T cook here makes me want to pull my hair out. That's why I got plenty of it in over spring break- but of course I didn't want to spend the whole time in the kitchen, either. I was looking for recipes that would be yummy and memorable, but were also fast and could be brought wherever S and I decided to sleep (his apartment was mold infested at the time and we weren't too keen on sleeping there). Well, what's something that's quick to whip up from scratch, has minimal baking time, transports easily, and always receives winning marks? Cookies, obviously.

I am a total cookie girl. This is a recent revelation, but it has always been true. When I was little, my parents bought most of my Girl Scout cookies Partially so I could get a prize, partially to support the troop, and partially because they're delicious. When I dropped out of GS, I'd buy a few boxes of the best ones (which are obviously Tagalongs and Samoas) from the cute little girls standing with their leaders outside grocery stores. When I was in middle school, the recipe all my guy friends wanted me to make for them was my infamous chocolate chip (which was actually just the toll house recipe...). In high school, I baked cookies as Christmas presents, Valentines presents, just because presents, for guy "friends" that I secretly thought were cute, and at sleepovers with my friends. Here in college, the Bon serves at least five different platters of desserts at lunch- various types of brownies, lemon bars, magic bars, vanilla bars, all kinds of bars- but the only thing I go for is the cookies. I am just utterly obsessed with cookies. Who wouldn't be? They're little desserts that can deliver pretty much any flavor or texture you want but still be eaten in your hand, making them the perfect thing to make for bake sales, new neighbors, parties, kids coming home for school, or really anything at all. You don't even need a reason to bake cookies. They're friggen cookies.

My sister J came to visit me a few weeks ago and she gave me this recipe for Rollo Cookies. I was hesitant because they use a premade cake mix and I'm pretty adamant about making baked goods from scratch. I still wanted to try them out though and I wanted to be efficient with my time in Arizona, so I bought the mix anyways and made them while S was at work for a few hours. They were awesome, just like J said. A soft but crisp chocolate cookie on the outside, with a gooey, caramel center. Mmm. Just like the Colcannon, these disappeared pretty quickly, but this time it was me and S who took care of most of them :)

I'd like to try these with a normal chocolate cookie recipe sometime, instead of an altered chocolate cake mix. I think they would be even better that way. Also, yes. These aren't vegan. My sister is far from being vegan, and so is this recipe. It would be hard to make it completley vegan because the Rollo candies contain milk and the cake mix might have something too. It's easy to get rid of the eggs though. Just use some of that Ener-G egg replacement I told you about!

(When I get my camera cord and have another chance to make these I'll put up some pics!)

Rollo Cookies
1 pkg Rollos
1 box devils food cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Unwrap Rollos one batch at a time. Start with twelve- this recipe probably makes 30-40 cookies.
3. Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil in a bowl. Stir until combined. It will be a thick consistency- not like cake batter but not quite as firm as a lot of cookie doughs.
4. Wrap each Rollo in a bit of dough until completely covered. Don't use too much- a little over a quarter of an inch thickness of dough all around.
5. Bake each batch for 9 minutes. Let cool for a minute on the pan and then remove to cooling rack. Enjoy!

Oh yeah! So, this isn't an Irish themed recipe. Day three of the St. Paddy's countdown was of course St. Paddys- and let me tell you it was a BUSY day. I didn't even cook anything on that day- too much to do. I spent the whole time zipping around different locations, working with my friends' schedules so I could take pictures of them for my communications project (which I think turned out really well! Maybe next blog). In the middle of this my car broke down literally in the middle of the road and I had to figure out a new means of getting around, which ended up being my dad's old work truck. S and I didn't get to our St. Paddy's party until around 7 or 8, and even then I had to edit, compile, and email off the pictures I had taken. My partying didn't start until pretty late. But once it did... it was a fabulous night! I might upload some pics in a few days, but they're mostly just a wonderful blur of green and orange people dancing around and having a feckin' awesome time. There's always next year for early morning cooking! Have a lovely Friday :)

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