..that's where we wanna go, to get away from it all

Greetings from South Florida! It's finally Spring Break, and I have left the cold and blustery Midwest weather for a more comfortable climate this week.

Traveling to get here was fun, but the kind of fun that is like going to the dentist: I flew out of Bloomington, IL, which has a very tiny airport with free (!) parking, but I got there way too early, and I had to change flights in Dallas, which was rather out of the way, and eventually I made it to the MIA.

While in Dallas, I saw a few iPod vending machines. These didn't just have headphones or Shuffles, but there were iPod Touches in there (so, like, items costing $300+). Who drops that much money on an impulse like that? I spent less money to fly than it is to casually purchase such an item. Here, I'll show you:

It's nice to be able to come back and visit here: Miami is sort of like a home to me, but sort of not (although I did live here for some 8 years). I like seeing familiar things, and I'm glad to have been able to visit with a couple friends. Unfortunately, most of my good friends from high school have gone elsewhere, for undergrad or graduate studies, or just for not living here anymore. As for the question of where I'm from, I'm still not sure. I'll work on that one later.

Another funny thing that reminds me of old times is that I went shopping with my grandma, and the sales lady who helped us couldn't believe 1)that I'm as old as 23 and 2)that Grandma is actually my grandma and not my mother. Of course, when I was younger, my height made people think I was older, but the grandma thing has been recurring for a while now.

I think that is all I have to say about Miami for now, maybe I'll post more later (but most probably not)

The real purpose of this post is to give two cookie updates. I got so caught up in teaching and finishing homework last week that I didn't find the time to post after baking.

The peanut butter and chocolate things I had made were so disappointing that two Saturdays ago I decided to go with something safe, and made pecan biscotti (37). These were incredibly easy to mix, especially since they called for vegetable oil instead of butter. However, as with all biscotti, they took a while to bake: I think I mentioned this before, but I had to shape the dough into a flat log, bake for about half an hour, cut the cookies into their appropriate shape, and then bake them for another fifteen minutes.

These cookies were much more popular with my friends - in fact, the three dozen or so I made were gone by the end of Monday (i.e. the day I brought them in).

(marked as a best cookie) This previous weekend the break forced me to choose a recipe with a smaller yield: most of my friends left town very early Saturday morning, so I did my baking Friday night, dropped about half of the batch off with people who were going to go camping in Tennessee, and ended up bringing the rest with me to Miami to share. Perhaps I should mention that I made brown butter toffee blondies (38). Brown butter is made simply by cooking butter over medium heat until it turns brown. This changes the flavor and texture a bit, and the slightly nutty taste goes fantastically with the toffee and walnuts. Honestly, I thought these were really delicious, and I think I'll have to make them again to share, perhaps this summer (I'm also happy to share the recipe). The picture doesn't do them justice - I think I undercooked the blondies a little, which left them nice and a little bit squishy on the inside, meaning they stayed moist and were just how they should be.

Yes, I'll definitely be making these again.

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