Books and bakes #3: Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear and blondies

The bake

I wanted something sweet the other day (I pretty much always want something sweet, tbh), but I was also feeling lazy. I wanted to bake something that was easy and fast and that I could make with the ingredients I already had on hand. Smitten Kitchen to the rescue! These blondies are done in 45 minutes–from the time you start to when you take the pan out of the oven–and requires just a few, basic ingredients. It’s perfect for when you get that spontaneous urge to bake (or eat) something.

You can customize this recipe, too. I’ve made these blondies before, and I once added crushed-up pretzels and chocolate, which turned out beautifully. I didn’t have any pretzels this time and had to make do with what I had in the cupboards. This meant I didn’t get any kind of interesting combo and added only chocolate chips. (That’s not a bad thing, though, if you like chocolate as much as I do.)

The book

I’m reading Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear by Matthew Salesses, which I first heard about through The Millions. It’s a quirky book about a man named Matt who increasingly feels like he is becoming invisible. And then he finds out he has a doppelgänger who is supposedly better than him in basically every way. Matt learns this after meeting his girlfriend’s doppelgänger, who happens to have been dating Matt’s doppelgänger. But now Matt’s doppelgänger has disappeared. It’s a weird and smart novel and I am enjoying it.

Books and bakes #2: Big Girl, Small Town and stromboli

The bake

I don’t bake a lot of savoury things. Sweets are more in my wheelhouse. But this recipe for stromboli on Sally’s Baking Addiction interested me. So when my boyfriend suggested we bake something together, it seemed like a great time to try out this recipe. (Plus, it saved us from figuring out what to have for dinner.) Sally’s recipe calls for enough dough to make two stromboli, suggesting you use the dough to bake one and freeze the second to use another time. But we made both so that we could try different filling combinations. We made one with pepperoni, red pepper, Edam, and mozzarella. We filled the second with ham, mushrooms, cheddar, and mozzarella. If I had to pick a favourite, I’d choose the pepperoni, But they were both delicious! As Sally points out, it’s a combination of bread, cheese, and meat, so you can’t really go wrong.

The book

This weekend, I’ve been reading Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen. This novel is about a young woman who works in a fish-and-chips shop in a small town in Ireland. Majella lives with mother, who is an alcoholic and often needs Majella to look after her. Majella is also dealing with the recent murder of her grandmother, for which there has been no arrest. That all sounds much more grim than the book actually is. I’m only about 50 pages in. So far, Gallen has given a real sense of Majella’s quiet and mundane life, but I am hoping for more of the hilarity and entertainment that the book jacket copy and endorsements promise.

Books and bakes #1: The Discomfort of Evening and cinnamon rolls

It’s a grey Sunday here in Toronto, and, while it’s not too cold (for January), it’s one of those lazy days where I haven’t left the house. I knew I’d get some reading in today but wasn’t sure I felt up to baking. Then I realized it was a good time to bake something with yeast, since I could read while I waited for the dough to rise.

The bake

I’ve been thinking about baking cinnamon rolls for a while, and today was my first attempt. I used the Easy Cinnamon Rolls (from scratch) recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. These were, in fact, quite easy to make. But next time I think I need to make a better roll (like, make it tighter or something?). Anyway, I enjoyed one of these fresh from the oven with a bit of icing drizzled on top. I didn’t frost all of them, as I’m planning on freezing some of them. My guess is that, even if I warm up the others, they won’t be quite as good later on. But they’re still homemade cinnamon rolls, and that’s something to be excited about.

The book

I’m reading The Discomfort of Evening, written by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld and translated from the Dutch by Michele Hutchinson. The story follows Jas, a young girl, who lives on a farm in the Netherlands with her family. Her older brother, Matthies, dies tragically at the very beginning of the book, and Jas and her remaining siblings are left to contemplate death and watch their parents grieve. The novel is well written (it did win the 2020 International Booker Prize, after all), and I am interested in the characters and how they cope with Matthies’ death, but I am finding it a little heavy and somewhat disturbing for my current mood. Luckily, the cinnamon rolls are providing a bit of comfort to go with this discomfort.