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Friday, May 30, 2014

Geek Love for My Students

I couldn't end the school year without doing something geeky for my seventh graders. We're whole-class reading The Life of Pi. So we're listening to the audiobook and working on worksheets while we read (and look at the ebook on the screen so we can highlight words and google things we don't understand). After we finish reading the book, we're going to watch the movie and do a compare and contrast. That will end our year.

I wanted to bring in a treat for them, because they have been doing so well with the book, reading it, paying attention, asking questions, and all that jazz. So I found a way to make easy homemade doughnuts that look like LIFE SAVERS!!! Err... life buoys? Errrmm... life preservers? OH! Life Tubes? Anyways. . . those rings that save people that they have on boats and around docks and stuff.

Since it's Friday. . . it's treat day. I woke up at 4:30AM to make my students Life Saver Doughnuts to enjoy while they listen to the book today. Here is my journey. The recipe is at the bottom.



Life Saver Doughnuts

Ingredients

  • 3 packages of Grands Jr. Biscuits
  • 1 whole bottle of vegetable oil
  • 1 container of preferred non-whipped frosting (I used white)
  • 2 cups sugar (for the doughnut holes)
  • 1 squeezable package of Red Cake Decorating Frosting


Equipment

  • 1 small round or hexagon cookie cutter
  • 1 large pot (not too high on the sides)
  • 1 plate
  • 1 large flat plate or a cutting board
  • 1 medium to large bowl (for the dough middles)
  • 1 paper towel lined cookie sheet or plate
  • 1 small-medium bowl (for the sugar)
  • Metal or Silicon tongs.
  • Butter Knife or Frosting Knife


Directions:
1. Put the oil into the pot and put it on the stove on medium heat. Let heat up.

2. On a large plate or cutting board, open the Grands Jr. containers and lay out the biscuits.

3. Press the biscuits to be a little flat, then place the cookie cutter as close to the middle as possible and cut out the middle. Put the middles aside in a bowl.

4. Finish 1 whole package (or all three) and arrange the cut out doughnuts on a plate.

5. Using a doughnut hole, test the oil. The oil should start to bubble when the dough is placed in. Drop and let cook on each side (these will need to cook longer than the doughnuts, because they are thicker).

6. Once the oil is ready, you can drop 4-5 doughnut rings in at a time. Just note in the order you dropped them. Flip them with a tongs as soon as they are light golden brown (not dark golden brown) on one side.

7. Once both sides look similar, take them out and place them on the paper towel to soak up excess oil.

8. Do this for all the doughnuts and doughnut holes.

9. In a bowl, put half of the frosting from the container and put it in the microwave for about 25-30 seconds.

10. Take a doughnut and dip it in the melted frosting and let the excess drip off. You'll have to do this 3-4 times to get a thick white coat. OR you can spread a little of the unmelted frosting on first and then dip it in the melted frosting. Put aside so the white frosting firms up just a bit.

11. Take the red bag of frosting and, on four parallel sides, put little red dollops.  Let firm, then use a knife or frosting knife to tape it down into neat little red markers (see above pictures).

12. While you are waiting for the frosting to firm, you can toss the holes in the sugar you've placed in a bowl.

13. Serve with a napkin. Does not do well overnight, because the frosting is so moist.





Sunday, May 18, 2014

The D20 Cookie

For an incredibly long time I've wanted to make D20 cookies. I thought they would be perfect for my students in my gaming club as a treat or to make when I'm hanging out with my gamer friends. I put it off and put it off and finally I watched Rosanna Pasino's Nerdy Nummy video for D20 cookies. I was surprised to see Felicia Day was in the video, not because I think she can't bake or something, but because I didn't know she was on that episode.

Also, I've been more of a cupcake girl, but even then. . . not at any pro-level. So desserts aren't my strong point. I'm learning and it's something that I'm trying out on the side. So far, having lots of fun doing it.



After watching it, I was super psyched to make the cookies. I had my hexagon cookie cutters and, well. . . I sadly did not make my own cookie dough.  Not because I can't, but because I wanted to just test out using pre-made dough with the process. The other problem I ran into was that I didn't have the colors of frosting I wanted to use for icing the cookies. Regardless, I was going to make this work.

So my daughter and I rolled out the pre-made cookie dough. Cut the cookies and put them on the cookie sheet. Baked them. We made big and mini-cookies.

Error #1: The pre-made dough did not  hold the edges of the hexagon, so they looked more like strangely formed round cookies. Some of them had some defined shape, but most started to blob out.

Error #2: The frosting tips were too wide, so I wasn't getting the fine lines to draw that I needed.


With these lessons learned, I know what I need to do for the future! I am definitely going to follow Rosanna's recipe for the future attempt, but these are my attempts at a D20 cookie. I feel more confident now that I've tried it at least once.

Large Cookie
Mini-Cookie 

Success #1: They tasted DELISH!

Success #2: I have a plan for the future.