I first became aware of the existence of chocolate-covered strawberry brownies when my friend Inge from Of Wonderland shared a picture of them on Twitter. They looked amazing and when I “had” to bake something for my best friend’s birthday party later that week, I knew exactly what I was going to bake.
Brownies are the best thing since sliced bread. They’re incredibly easy to make, but they’re always the biggest hit at any party (as long as they’re baked well, of course). I love to try fun variations on the classic brownie, like my Rolo and Sea Salt Brownies or these Lemon and Ginger Brownies. Of course, everybody knows chocolate and strawberries are the perfect combinations, so I knew right away these were going to be amazing!
An added challenge, however, was that I was filming everything while I was baking. You might have missed it, but I started a YouTube channel a few weeks ago, called Books Baking and Vlogging! I’ve been posting bookish videos for a while now, but this is my very first baking video. That means that there’s the usual written recipe down below, but you can also watch the video if you want to see how exactly things need to be done!
As I expected, these brownies were a huge hit at the party. Multiple people I didn’t know came up to me to thank me for them, so I’d say that’s a success! Anyway, let’s get on to the actual recipe! You’ll find the video below the list of ingredients!
‘I heard him before I saw him: his battle cry ringing round the walls…’
When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis’s old life is shattered. She goes from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the godlike warrior Achilles as a prize of battle. She’s not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long, bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters.
As told in The Iliad, the Trojan War was a quarrel between men. But what of the women in this story, silenced by their fates? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead?
In this magnificent novel of the Trojan War, Pat Barker summons the voices of Briseis and her fellow women to tell this mythic story anew, foregrounding their experiences against the backdrop of savage battle between men. One of the contemporary writers on war and its collateral damage, here Pat Barker reimagines the most famous of all wars in literature, charting one woman’s journey through it, as she struggles to free herself and to become the author of her own story.
First published: 2018
That’s right, I have joined the land of YouTube! I contemplated starting a YouTube channel for a really long time and on Tuesday I finally filmed my very first video after planning on doing so for a few weeks but each time chickening out for various reasons. It was quite exciting and a little bit scary. I talk all about it in the video, so I won’t just rehash all of that right here.
Just to clarify: me starting a YouTube channel doesn’t mean I’m going to abandon my blog: I plan on doing both because I still love blogging a lot too. It just felt like I needed a new challenge – I’ve been doing this blogging thing for over five years already, after all. YouTube seems like a fun way to try something new and develop some new skills, so I’m giving it a try! As for content, it’s going to be mainly books and hopefully some baking at some point too.
I don’t know yet whether I’m going to post all of my videos on here as well, so if you’d like to see more of them, I’d love it if you subscribed to my channel! I’m excited for you guys to see the video and I’d love to know what you think, so please leave a comment, if you like!
Anyway, enough intro: here’s my very first YouTube video!
Who doesn’t love a good muffin? I used to make them all the time and I was under the impression this was still one of my most-baked things, but apparently the last time I baked muffins was in June! So, high time for another muffin recipe. My supermarket had a sale on blueberries last week and I love me some blueberries, so those definitely had to be incorporated. And lemon makes everything better, so why not throw some of that in too?
The result is this wonderfully fresh muffin. The texture is silky smooth, I think thanks to the yoghurt, and there’s a blueberry (or two, or three) in every bite.
I did have a bit of a revelation when it comes to baking muffins, though: I usually bake my muffins in a silicone muffin pan and they come out pretty great, but they never really have that amazing muffin top. This time, though, I had some batter leftover, so I used my smaller metal muffin tin to bake the last few in (the ones in the pictures) and they came out so great! Look at the rise on those things! This is the first time I’ve noticed this, so it might be a fluke, but I think I’m no longer going to use my silicone muffin pan from now on! Metal all the way, baby.
Anyway, let’s get to the recipe!
I love writing mini reviews! It gives me a way to review all of the books I read in a month but doesn’t add the pressure of having to write a full-blown review if I don’t want to. Short and sweet! Or salty, depending on how I liked the book.
Amazingly, I managed to finish seven books in April. I think I mostly have the Magical Readathon to thank for that (you can read more about that here). I do want to try to stay in this flow, though, so I’ve already picked out some books I want to read in May. Hopefully, I’ll get to them all!
But first, let’s talk about all of the books I read in April!
Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ★★★★☆
This series just keeps getting better! After reading the first volume, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to continue the series, but I’m glad I did because I already liked volume 2 a lot better, and volume 3 was even more fun. I’m finally truly invested in the characters and their fates and some of the events in this volume had me on the edge of my seat. Shit gets crazy in Saga, that’s for sure. I like how we’re getting to know more about the crazy world and society the story takes place in and I’m also enjoying the new characters. I definitely want to keep reading this series, but these volumes are rather expensive, so I’m not sure when I will pick up the next one.
Usually, I feel like the months simply fly by, but the start of April seems like such a long time ago! I had quite an ambitious plan for April: I was going to participate in the Magical Readathon and try to write 30,000 words for the novel I’m working on during Camp NaNoWriMo. Those two events happened to be in the same month and instead of being sad about having to choose one of them, I decided to do both. Spoiler: I only succeeded at one and failed quite spectacularly at the other one. But that’s okay because we’re all about having fun here at Books Baking and Blogging, and I did have a lot of fun! So much so that I decided to tell you all about it. I don’t normally write wrap-ups, but I figured this month deserved one!
The cookie urge got me again! I actually made these cinnamon and white chocolate chip cookies a little while back already, but I didn’t get around to writing up the recipe before now because it’s been a busy month. I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month and my goal is to write 30,000 words on my novel throughout April. It was going really well, but I haven’t written much in a few days and I’m a little stuck in the story… But I hope to figure that out soon! Besides that, I’m also participating in the Magical Readathon all month! It’s an amazing readathon based on Harry Potter and the exams the students at Hogwarts have to take. Take a look at this video if you’re interested! I’ve been having so much fun with it!
Anyway, enough about my month – you probably came here for the cookies. These cookies are actually my attempt to cookie-fy my recipe for cinnamon sugar recipes (which you can find here). That one is one of my favourite recipes I ever made (my mouth starts watering just thinking about it) so I figured it’d be fun to see if I could turn it into an equally delicious cookie.
Okay, I’m going to be honest: I didn’t like these cookies as much as I did the blondies, but they were still pretty damn good! They are very sweet, so if I make them again I might add some pecans or walnuts to balance out the sweetness of the white chocolate. But if you love sweet, you’ll love these! They’re easy to make and super cinnamon-y – what more could you want?
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.
Sometimes, I just suddenly get a very strong urge to bake cookies. This only happens with cookies, strangely enough. Never with muffins, pies, cakes… No idea what that’s about, but when it happens, I just roll with it.
A few weeks ago on a Friday, I got the Cookie Urge again while I was at work and I decided to prepare cookie dough that evening and then bake the cookies the next morning (they turn out the best if you leave the dough in the fridge overnight!). I decided to try out something new, and I remembered the double chocolate chip cookie I’d had at Subway (no spon – but wouldn’t that be cool) the other day. Those cookies really are amazing, aren’t they? And the double chocolate chip is definitely my favourite.
So, I decided to bake my own double chocolate chip cookies and they came out amazing! There’s just something about that combination of dark chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips. And I don’t even really like white chocolate!
I had a bit of a hiccup along the way in that I found out I was out of plain flour when I’d already started baking. Whoops! I did still have wholemeal flour, though, so I used that instead. They still came out great, but a little more tough and dense than I’d imagined them to be. I put “plain flour” in the recipe because I still think that works best, but this proves you can definitely use wholemeal too! If you use plain flour, your cookies will probably spread a little more than mine did.
Anyway, enough babbling. Let’s get to the recipe!
While January seemed to go on for ages, February felt like it was over in a heartbeat. I blame it on those three days we didn’t have. I didn’t read as much in February as I did in January, but I did have a ton of fun reading! I read what is now a new favourite classic, and I finally read Landline, which had been sitting on my shelves for a good long while.
I also really enjoyed doing these mini reviews wrap up style last month, so I think I’m going to keep on doing that! Although, I’ll still be doing occasional full-length reviews for books I really have a lot to say on (I’ll be finishing On the Come Up by Angie Thomas later today – you can bet I have a lot to say about that!).
Anyway, on to the books!
Landline by Rainbow Rowell ★★★⭑☆ (3.5)
After my fantasy-heavy rotation in January, I really felt like reading a light contemporary novel at the start of February and Landline was the perfect pick. Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite writers, but I have to say I’ve loved her YA novels much more than her adult ones. Fangirl and Eleanor & Park are both favourites of mine, but Attachments and now this one, while definitely enjoyable, weren’t that memorable to me. I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing, especially her dialogues and she also writes amazing characters. They’re always interesting and Georgie and Neal in Landline were so well-rounded and vibrant. I loved getting to know them and their relationship better throughout the book. It was a wonderful, flawed, realistic love story. Apart from the magic phone – that’s the one thing that just didn’t really do it for me.