Baking in a College Dorm vs Baking at Home: The Experience

This past weekend, I went with my parents to drop off my sister at Princeton University. She’s an independent, meaning that she cooks for herself and is not on the university’s food plan. So with her little kitchenette, we decided to make some cookie layered turtle brownies.

Here is are pictures of her Spelman dorm kitchen:

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Not much, eh?

Now cooking at home and cooking in a college dorm are two separate worlds:

  1. Shopping on a college budget. First off, in the store when deciding between different brands, instead of getting the highest quality (and usually most expensive) ingredients like I do at home, my sister told me to “get the cheapest since we are on a college budget.” We also had to be mindful of the ingredients we used– so I did something I rarely do and used box mix for the brownies (she had boxes of them at her dorm already) and pre-made cookie dough (GASP!) . At home, I like to splurge on high quality chocolate and even good vanilla with Madagascar bourbon, because I think they affect the taste. However, you can bake with anything and the treats will still turn out good.
  2. No counter space and limited utensils! When we got to her dorm, I had to work with 2 feet of counter space, two bowls, and a spoon. Compare this to the island and the insane number of pots and pans I have at home, and it doesn’t seem like much. Yet, it worked out perfectly.
  3. Clean as you go. Since she is sharing her dorm with 3 other students, they have a rule that you have to clean up the kitchen and utensils after you’re done with it. So we had to be super careful about making a mess (which I never do at home). At home, I’ve been told I am a “whirlwind” since I do everything super fast and manage to leave destruction in path…
  4. The music. I got to turn the music up, instead of turning it down at my house. So I could listen to all my new favorite songs. They even had a speaker right above the fridge that I could plug my phone into 🙂
  5. College students = hungry students. The last thing I learned is that college students like food. Real, sugary, yummy foods and they want it in its full glory. So these brownies were perfect for them.

To do this at home, you can easily substitute homemade cookie dough and brownie batter. I definitely under baked them and when they were cooled they were rich and scrumptious.

Note: If you are buying a box mix, try to look for one that suits a 13 x 9 pan, as this recipe calls for it. Else, adjust the recipe as needed to fit your pan size. To make the brownie box mix better, add in some vanilla and chocolate chips!

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Cookie Layered Turtle Brownies

Yields 20 brownies

  • Brownie Mix
    • If making from a box, add 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Cookie Dough
  • 20-25 soft caramels
  • 8-10 oz. chocolate chips(I used dark)
  • 1½ tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a glass 13 x9 pan with parchment paper and some cooking spray.
  2. Prepare the brownies by their instructions(if using a box mix, add in the vanilla and chocolate chips to make it more tasty).
  3. Spread the cookie dough on the bottom of the pan, creating a thin layer. Pour the brownie on top of the cookie dough. Layer on the rest of the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick come out clean. While it is baking, melt the milk and caramel together in the microwave in 20 second increments on medium power, stirring after each interval. It should liquefy enough for you to drizzle on the brownies.
  5. Once the brownies are done baking, drizzle on the caramel and let cool. Serve!

Adapted from Six Sister’s Stuff

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