Whew, it’s been a busy week or so! Time really does fly when you’re having fun, and, as usual, that’s all I’ve been having. Being back to school for the first time in a couple years caught up to me a little bit as I just had to write my first midterm and first paper and do my first presentation in awhile, all pretty much at the same time as I had to both start and finish a book for Book Club and at the same time as we went away for 5 days to visit some wonderful Vernon folk, a trip which deserves a post of its own, a trip where not a stitch of homework or reading got done!
Turns out I still love school.
(Phewf! How would I justify that credit card bill otherwise??)
Presentations are a funny thing to me because I LOATHE the idea of them, and get the shakes at the thought of standing in front of a room of staring people for 10 minutes while trying to sound coherent, let alone reasonably intelligent. I know I’m a fast talker and slowing down STRESSES ME OUT. I like to get through a 10 minute presentation in about 6 minutes, preferably without a single inhalation, so slowing down leads pretty quickly to either hyperventilation or a bad case of the almost-faints.
Soooo, this time my technique was to simply say “I know I’m a fast talker” and proceed to talk at regular super speed. Judging by the feedback everyone had to anonymously write for me, I talked too fast. One person gave me the helpful tip that I should slow down by 25%. Yes, I will spend my next free evening timing my speech and then working to increase my time by 25% without adding any words. Thank you for your input, messy writer #3.
HOWEVER, the majority of people wrote things like “Fast, but very understandable”, “Good pace”, and my personal favourite: “Short and sweet”. Why thank you. (*blush*flash wedding ring*) and several people including the professor came up to me afterwards to tell me it had been good, so I am feeling rather validated in my new approach. If people can’t keep up it is clearly their feeblemindedness (a topic of study in said class) and not my uncompromising, stubborn refusal to be anything but myself. You may gather, once I’m actually up there I quite enjoy the whole presenting experience :)
It is fun to go to school when you are older than most of the other people in the class, because you feel kind of entitled to be yourself, and having the unconditional love of two little ones to come home to makes you care a whole lot less what others might think of you and your presentation. I recommend it.
Also, marry someone who is good with computers and can teach you how to use a USB key and how to make your power point information fly in like a superhero, and how to then make it run as a slide show, and also be patient and sweet enough to think your total uselessness is kind of cute, if baffling.
In other unrelated news, those Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes we talked about recently?
They’re back and better than ever.
I suggest you make some of these cupcakes. If you did already, I’m sorry for making you do all that work the first time around, but I promise you will be faster at it this time AND you will like them better this way.
I guess I shouldn’t promise things like that since everyone has their own tastes, but really, if you don’t like them better this way you probably also don’t like pretzels better with salt. Just sayin’. This way is better.
I’ll tell you why and then you will believe me. I hope it the future we can skip this “tell you why” bit and you can just trust me blindly, but until then, I’ll tell you why.
In the original recipe, the cupcake, filling and frosting are ALL cookie dough. By the time you chew your way through the cookie dough cupcake, you are less thrilled than you could be to run into a cookie dough filling. THIS version FIXES that by using a plain white cupcake with a few scattered chocolate chips to let you know something is amuck and this is not your standard vanilla cupcake.
The original icing was very cookie-dough-esque but not quite icing-y enough when perched on top of that cookie dough filling. THIS version fixes that by upping the icing sugar and downing the brown sugar just a tad. Also, THIS recipe is adjusted to make only 12 cupcakes, not 24. You can double it if you need to, but I find 12 cupcake centres a much more manageable number to nibble.
Also, you will be less shocked by the quantity of butter you beat.
I also discovered if I exercise self-control and DON’T eat all those centres I’m scooping out with a coffee spoon, they combine into a fabulous pile of cupcake crumble which can then be topped with any and all excess icing and filling and eaten in heaping spoonfuls over the course of more than one evening (if you get two evenings out of it I’ll be impressed).
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH CUPCAKES
Cupcakes: (makes 12 cupcakes)
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ tsp baking powder
¾ cup milk
½ cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
½ cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
3.5 oz sweetened condensed milk (approx 6 tbsp)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups icing sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy – give it 2-3 minutes for best results. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla.
Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture, and mix well. Blend in the milk until the batter is very smooth, then stir in chocolate chips. Divide evenly over 12 cupcakes.
Bake 18-20 minutes for cupcakes, until toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
Filling: Combine butter and sugar; cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour to let it firm up a bit.
To fill the cooled cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake and eat the resulting crumbs J Fill each hole with a chunk of the cookie dough filling mixture.
Frosting: Beat together butter and brown sugar until creamy. Mix in icing sugar until smooth. Beat in flour and salt, then add milk and vanilla and beat until very smooth. Frost and decorate as desired.
So once you’ve tried those again, come back and see what we got up to in Vernon and how much Carl liked this birthday cake.
Also, I have the cutest son ever. And an amazingly talented photographer nearby whom I am proud to call my big sister. Check it out: http://unexpectedmomentsphotography.com/blog/