To say that i am something of an embarrassingly abysmal chef would be a drastic understatement. If it were possible to burn water, i probably would. I’ve certainly ruined pots trying, at any rate.
But my mother, unfailing in her teachings and a prize winner in patience, has endeavored to teach me culinary skills enough to survive since my brothers were making filet mignon at the ages of five and seven. Though this foray into mother-daughter lesson-learning has not necessarily been the most fruitful (my fault, not hers) i have gleaned a few lessons, chief among them: 1. always keep a box of Bisquik stored in the house for emergencies, and 2. cheese can make almost anything better.
Wanting to explore the realm of the unknown and out of a desire to try something new, i decided to take a proper, dangerous adventure a few days ago. It’s true friends, i did the unthinkable: i may have had mishaps on motorcycles, but few things prepared me for the confrontation i had on Friday with … my oven. I’ve started baking. And i’m still alive and mostly unscathed. I count this as a victory.
So, as an homage to my faithful mother (who will still try my cooking, even when we’re fairly certain it will lead to certain demise) and to bask in my newfound glory of cuisine-generating (beyond that of the Ramen and scrambled eggs realm) i thought i’d share with you my first real foray into baking. Funny enough, this pseudo-crafting, DIY-baking stuff i so rarely do always seems to come back to some themed party or event i’m throwing/attending (well, funny in the sense that it is totally in line with my characteristic nerdiness and lack of ability to do anything actually useful in a world outside of academia and the internet). Last time, when i made my mockingjay shirt, it was for The Hunger Games premiere. That proved, like the food, to be mildly successful. Once more, Panem has provided the inspiration necessary for lizzie to voyage into the homemaking blogging kingdom with…
From the Mellark Bakery: Peeta’s Cheese Buns (As Inspired by the Schemestresses Video)
Ingredients needed for this recipe: 2.5 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/3 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (plus extra for spreading on top)
(for spreading on top of the buns) 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (my butter was already salted, so i eliminated this along with the Old Bay seasoning called for in the original recipe because i didn’t have any)
Step #1: Take a semi-artsy photograph of everything you’ll need, even though you’ve just listed it above. Its cool. Don’t question the cooking blog magic. Also, now would be a good time to pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.
Step #2: Mixing Stuff.
Chuck all your Bisquik, milk, sugar, garlic powder, and cheese together in a bowl and mash it up like you’re a zombie making brain stew. I find singing along to 80s glam rock whilst doing this makes the batter all the more tender and mushy, but that step is optional.
Make sure all the flour-y goodness has turned to semi-liquid, plado-like consistency to ensure you don’t have any awkward patches of flaky powder in your soon-to-be-deeeliscious Peeta-buns. (I’m sorry, that euphemism couldn’t be avoided. Sorry, kids).
Step #3: Roll out your dough on a well-floured surface. You can pound it out evenly with your hands or use a rolling pin, whichever is more accessible. I found pretending to be the Black Widow and karate-chopping the dough made for a much more entertaining step three, but again, that’s on you comrades.
When you’re done evening out the mashed brains, use a cookie cutter to slice out your buns. Once you’ve cut them out, put them on your baking sheet as close to one another as possible. Jill, the host of the video, advises this because it means the bread will rise up, rather than out. I used leftover dough for two wee drop biscuits.
Step #4: BaKe DaT, gUrL. Put your tray of cozied-up buns into the steamer for 8 – 10 minutes. And by steamer, i mean oven (again with the sexual innuendoes! I only sort of mean to do that!).
Step #5: While those blobs of dough are turning into blobs of yummy-ness, start on the spread to go on top. Melt your stick of butter into a bowl (it took my microwave 45 seconds to thoroughly do the job) and mix your garlic powder and salt into the melted ooze. If you’re as inept at cooking as i am, this process will mysteriously take the entire 8 minutes your buns are rising.
Step #6: POP THE BUNS OUTTA THE OVEN. It helps if you wear oven mitts. Your buns should be pretty white, but if they’re a little brown you won’t die or anything. At least, i haven’t keeled over yet.
Spread the butter mixture on top of the buns and sprinkle some shredded cheese over the top of your buns. If you want to use residual heat from your now cooling-down oven, stick these buns back into the oven with the cheese over top for thirty seconds or so. This should melt that cheesy gooey-ness all over them so they’re positively smothered in cholesterol dairy goodness.
Step #7: Stuff your face and dream of Peeta or Katniss, whomever gives you gooey feelings of delight. To the mothers in your life, be they your own mother or friends’s moms or friends who are moms, share some Mellark Bakery love. Unless they’re lactose intolerant. Send them a recipe for zombie brain cakes instead, much easier on the abdomen.
current jam: “sky” joshua radin & ingrid michaelson
best thing: dairy products and old books.
things i’ve done elsewhere: a video response to hank green’s vlog on marriage equality.