Life at Camp — Baking with MJ

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For Bakery Battles week at Camp Doll Diaries, we decided to do something a little different. Since I was the only baker at camp, there wouldn’t be any competition for me. And nobody except Caroline really knew how to bake, so I offered to teach everyone.

We gathered at a table in the kitchen, where the supplies were already laid out. I counted my students — one, two, three, four, five — and frowned. Saige, Isabelle, and Savannah were missing. Shrugging, I flipped through my cookbook. They’d turn up eventually.

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Holding the batter-stained book up for everyone to see, I told them, “We’re going to make the Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dome Cake.”

My students leaned in and gazed at the picture, licking their lips.

Molly looked up at me and said, “I’m allergic to peanuts, Counselor MJ.”

“Oh . . .” I glanced at the recipe. There was no way we could make it without peanut butter. “You can help us cook it, right?” A nod. “You and I can make brownies later,” I promised.

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Handing the cookbook to Molly, who started reading aloud, I showed Ivy how much peanut butter to put in the red mixing bowl.

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After Tracy had added the chocolate syrup to the concoction and Caroline had spooned in coco powder, the missing pupils dashed into the room. I found it odd that they were all wearing gray bottoms and ponytails. Not to mention that they were eying all of us suspiciously.

“Sorry we’re late.” Saige and her friends took a spot at the end of the table. “We were, uh, using the bathroom.” Savannah and Isabelle nodded.

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Emily plopped a spoonful of Nutella into the mix, then licked the spoon clean. “Here.” She slid the bowl across the table to Isabelle. “You can stir,” she offered.

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Isabelle wrapped her fingers around the spoon and stirred. Stirring was one of my favorite things about baking. Watching all the ingredients blend together to create a dough or filling or something else . . .

“We’re making Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dome Cake,” Caroline whispered to Izzy. The ballerina, still stirring, relayed the information to Saige and Savannah.

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Once the batter was ready and Saige had smoothed it out with the back of the spoon, I demonstrated how to arrange Nilla Wafers into a dome, the bottoms of the cookies stuck into the dough. Savannah understood immediately and, in the less than a minute, was done.

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 Before I put the food in the oven, I added the finishing touch: chocolate syrup drizzled over the cookies. Then I carefully picked the bowl up, making sure not to knock over the dome, and set it in the oven.

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While everyone chatted and sniffed the air, which was beginning to smell like chocolate and peanut butter, I chewed on my lip and reread the recipe. I’d never made a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dome Cake before, but my friends didn’t know that. What if  it didn’t taste good? What if the cookies burned? Everyone would think I was a horrible baker, and while I’d hardly done any of the cooking, I’d helped each camper add an ingredient, which meant that if the treat was disgusting, it would be mostly my fault . . .

The timer dinged: “Miss Valdez, come check your food!” I raced over to the oven, but before I threw open the door, I squeezed my eyes shut. I didn’t want to see what the dome cake looked like. Slipping my hands into oven mitts, I pulled the cake out and walked back to the table. A round of gasps reached my ears as I set it down. But what kind of gasp is it? I wondered. It could be one of delight or one of horror.

Nervous, I opened one eye, then the other, fixed them on the food, and gasped.

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It was a gasp of delight. For in the bowl before me was a tower of beautiful, giant cookies.

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“Are they supposed to look like that?” asked Emily, a line of drool making its way down her chin.

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I snatched my cookbook up from the table and stared at the page. The picture showed a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dome Cake, the Nilla Wafers coated in dark syrup, chocolate peanut butter filling peeking out from between the cookies. I shot a look at the treats in the bowl, comparing them with the picture. Nope. They definitely weren’t supposed to look like that. I shook my head.

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The bowl was passed around the table and each girl took one cookie from it.

“On three,” I said, scooping my cookie off the tabletop.

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And then I happened to glance to my right and saw that Ivy had taken her cookie apart.

“Wow!” I exclaimed, leaning over it. This was a great opportunity to study the food. “It looks like the chocolate syrup completely covered the Nilla Wafers, turning them that dark brown color, and the reason it’s not wet is because the syrup hardened in the oven. And the filling . . . half is peanut butter, the other half is Nutella and coco powder.

“Alright, on three.” And I began the countdown, the voices of the other girls joining mine. “One . . . Two . . . Three!”

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 I, along with everyone else (except for Molly, who remembered that she had a peanut allergy), raised a cookie to my lips and took a bite. And it was wonderful.

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“That was amazing!” Caroline wiped some crumbs off her chin. “Will you cook with us some other time, MJ?”

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I nodded, grinning. Teaching them to bake had been fun, despite my worrying and the food’s odd mutation. “Of course. Of course, I will.”

~MJ~

P.S. The theme at Camp Doll Diaries this week is Picnics, Parades and Patriotism! (Fourth of July stuff.) Vote for the doll that will tell this week’s Life at Camp!

P.P.S. The last What’s Up Wednesday is on July first!

P.P.P.S. The Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dome Cake incident was not the first food mutation . . . https://happyhouseofag.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/cooking-part-2-collab-post-with-josie/

P.P.P.P.S. This is the last P.S. Promise.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Oops. It appears my fingers were crossed.

The BFF Wars — Part 11

BFFteams

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“Welcome to the Cooking challenge!” Sianne exclaimed.

The teams had gathered in a room with two low tables and a high ceiling. With the roof being so high over our heads, I wondered if Sianne would make us create a fifty-layer cake. It wasn’t unheard of!

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“We usually make our contestants bake us cakes, cookies, or pies, ” Sianne continued.

Are we going to have to make a casserole?! I thought in horror.  Not only were casseroles gross, and I had no idea how to make them, I believed I was allergic to them.

“Don’t fear! We won’t make you bake casseroles.” Had Sianne read my mind?! “You will make . . . CUPCAKES!”

Everyone in the room started to clap. “Cup-cakes! Cup-cakes!”

“All the ingredients are in your tables,” Sianne finished. “You may begin!”

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I leaned down and saw all the things Charlotte and I needed to make a cake stashed in the hollow table: bowls, spoons, measuring cups, milk, eggs, and cake mix.

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I set the supplies on top of the table.

“Let’s get this show on the road,” I said to Charlotte. We began to make the cake.

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We dumped the cake mix into a bowl, added three egg yolks, milk, and vegetable oil. Then we took turns mixing, and Charlotte poured the batter into cupcake pans and stuck them in the oven.

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Soon the cupcakes were done, and we pulled them out of the pans. Charlotte and I brainstormed about how to decorate them.

“Let’s make them magenta!” Charlotte suggested.

“Pink?” I disapproved of the idea. “You know that red food dye doesn’t taste very good, right? What if we did light blue?”

“Well, OK. Say that the cupcakes are blue. What would we do then?”

“Um . . . add sprinkles!”

“OK!”

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Charlotte mixed up some buttercream frosting and put two drops of blue food coloring in.

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I looked over at Team Jules’s table to check out our competition.

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 Jules was piping a swirling pattern of salmon-pink ribbons on her cupcakes.

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I nudged Charlotte. “Hey, Charlotte, we need to step it up.”

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I showered some cupcakes with frost-colored sprinkles that looked like snow, and Charlotte dumped a bunch of light green grains of sugar on others.

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We “borrowed” some pink icing from Jules and put little squiggly lines on our cupcakes.

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Jules had used the same see-through sprinkles as I had, but it looked a lot better on her cupcakes. They looked like pale roses dusted with morning dew.

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Once both teams were done, the judges came around to taste their treats.

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Sianne, Ashley, and Teresa each grabbed a cupcake and took a bite, chewing thoughtfully.

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Then they crossed over to our table. “Tell us about your cupcakes,” Sianne prompted.

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Charlotte cleared her throat. Pointing at a cupcake, she said, “Well, they’re chocolate with buttercream frosting. We thought they looked a little bit like French macarons.” She offered each of the judges a cupcake.

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After eating a cupcake, the judges went to the front of the room and discussed the pros and cons of each team’s treat.

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I munched on a cupcake nervously and waited for their decision.

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Ashley broke out of the huddle and turned to face us.

“We all agreed that Team Tori’s cupcakes tasted a little better — we think that Team Jules might have under cooked theirs a bit.”

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Teresa said, “While we thought both cupcakes were cute, Team Jules’s were fancier. So the winner of the cooking challenge is . . .”

“Team Jules!” Sianne exclaimed.

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Jules hugged Venus and stated matter-of-factly, “Pink and sparkles never fail!”

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Energy zipped through my veins as I realized that the teams were tied. The last challenge, Horseback Riding, would take place tomorrow, deciding who won the entire  BFF Wars.

Cooking Part 2 ~ Collab Post with Josie

Hi!

First off, I’m super sorry I haven’t posted in a week. I have excuses for a few days: Friday I had co-op in the morning and then I got sick. 😦 Saturday I was really tired from being sick, and that’s about where the explanations end. Oh, and I had drama class on Wednesday.

Alright, I’m doing a collab post with Josie! See part 1 on her blog *here*

Now, for part 2 . . .

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Hey, all you lovely people and dollies. The ultra amazing Saige (me!) has decided to attempt cooking. *you people gasp dramatically*

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Oh yeah, in my designer apron!

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Ahem. So, what Felicity cooked is behind me. She was baking cookies, but  . . .

OK, let’s just say that whenever dolls cook, something usually explodes. In most scenarios, it’s the food.

But we got lucky, and that didn’t happen!

But, yeah, there was kind of a mutation . . .

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Those peanut butter cookies Felicity  was making evolved into a pizza.

But, hey, it’s pizza, right? What could possibly be wrong with pizza? Even if it mutated . . .

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Well, my grandma made some chocolate chip cookies because what we had wanted in the first place was cookies, after all.

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Her chocolate chip cookies are the bomb.

Well, I guess that’s it! If you try making peanut butter cookies, just follow Felicity’s recipe and hope that it won’t mutate into anything. 😉

~~~~~~~~~~~

Bonus pictures from the making of the pizza:

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Flour and doll hands 🙂

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Mama mia! I’m a pizza chef!

*

I (Loren) took Saige out for a photoshoot in a red shirt that I made.

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An edit 🙂

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~ Loren and Saige

SAIGE and Loren