Well, it's definitely summer in Kansas. Every winter it gets so friggin cold, and then I can't believe how hot it gets! It says it's 93 right now, but I bet the heat index is way up there. And the thunderstorms have been wild too, what with all the rain and wind and craziness. Saturday I was working and the power flickered before kicking to a generator, which killed the cable, our sites and eventually the internet. Lemme tell you, it's hard to web produce when there's no web. And I've been baking a lot of foods that seem like they'd fit in with a picnic...but it's too hot to picnic right now.
It's been a fairly low-key week for me, which is exactly what I needed. I worked weekend days this week, which meant I was actually around when a lot of other staffers were. Which for me, naturally, means baking. Kelly and I made root beer cupcakes, which I think are totally weird but were a big hit. Root beer concentrate is definitely not the easiest thing to find in Lawrence. The cupcakes have both the concentrate and root beer in them, so they make a really runny batter. We couldn't decide what flavor of icing to do, so I swirled root beer and vanilla together, and then put a straw in them. I think they were cute :) And they newsroom definitely ate them up!
Saturday the weather hit the newsroom, like I said, and Sunday was just plain hot. Monday, though, I went to Aunt Betty's and we did a baking extravaganza. I've been wanting to try out ice cream, which yes, I admit, isn't baking. But it's dessert, so it works. I found this really great recipe for apple pie ice cream, it just sounded perfect for summer! So I made it the night before. I'd never made custard before, which involves cooking a milk mixture to a certain temperature, adding in the eggs slowly, cooking that to a certain consistency and then cooling it down really fast. It made me nervous, but apparently I did it right, because the next day when we put it in the ice cream maker with the apple mixture, it turned into ice cream! And it was sooo yummy. Ice cream might be my new thing, and I don't even really like ice cream that much. But the homemade stuff just tastes so much better, you know? We made a quart, but between me, my aunt and uncle, we finished it off.
Also on the list of things to make was a yummy pesto bread that a friend at work posted a link to. I like making bread at Aunt Betty's because she makes it so often and it always turns out perfectly. We made the pesto from the basil in her garden, definitely tasty. I know I'm going to ask for a new food processor for my birthday, because hers is so much better than my crappy cheap one. Yes, I live dangerously, asking for a food processor. Anyway, the bread was made kind of like a jelly roll, spreading out the pesto inside and then rolling it up, which also meant some pesto squished out. In the end, though, it turned out looking very pretty. My coworkers Sarah and Whitney also made the bread, and Whitney wrote about it on one of our sites. Definitely a fun thing to try making.
When I was browsing the site the pesto bread was on, I also found a recipe for pretzel rolls. You never realize how much goes into making pretzels until you actually start. You make the dough, let it rise, cut it into separate rolls, let it rise again, boil it in a baking soda-water combination, egg wash it, salt it, cut it and then bake it. All of those steps are worth it, though, because these might have been my favorite of the day. They browned wonderfully and were soooo yummy right out of the oven. And they were yummy with peanut butter, too! I think I will make some into sandwiches later.
I wanted to take that ice cream I made earlier into the newsroom, so two nights ago I remade a giant batch. I took it by last night and it seemed well-received. I can already tell how much of a workout my ice cream machine is going to get this summer! In between ice cream-making, I've been doing some massive cleaning and painting. I even organized my baking cabinet so I can see all my cupcake papers for next time I want to bake. I'm a dork, yes.
No cleaning for me today, though. I definitely have the itch to bake again, but instead I'm going to make use of my new gym membership after I take a nap. :) I love summertime!