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Chocolate Cheer Cookies Fancy Pantsy Holiday desserts Strange and Yummy

Hurricane Holiday/When I Finally Learned That Tassie Is Not A Dirty Word

You guys! Welcome to Hurricane Holiday, where all of your dreams have been hijacked by nightmares of strange old women assaulting you in your childhood home, pretending to be personal trainers hired by your parents.

…Or is that just a thing that is happening to me?

Well… moving right along then, let’s talk holiday cookies! And before people start accosting me for using the word “holiday,” ya’ll should really read through this blog a little bit more closely. It gets WAY more offensive, trust. Also, if you’re curious, I personally celebrate Christmas, but I know a lot of you don’t, and hey, cool man, we’re all here because we like cookies. Anyway, a couple of months ago, I came across a badass project called the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, which organized a – youuuu guessed it– cookie swap between food bloggers all over the world. An opportunity to receive cookies from other bloggers? An opportunity to also bake cookies for other bloggers, fret over shipping them, then anxiously panic that they’d been destroyed in transit or suddenly went bad/were always bad but my taste buds are wack and now everyone hates me why why whyyyyyy did I agree to this? Serious anxiety, guys. It ain’t just a river in… never mind.

Ha...ha?
Ha…ha?

But yes, I was terrified to participate. I’ve got Imposter Syndrome real, real bad, and it doesn’t really help that my camera’s busted but I’m trying to work on bettering my food photography skills. Fortunately, thanks to some great pep talks, a little bit of hope, a LOT of blasting Beastie Boys tunes and some serious power-pose sessions, I was able to power through and be a part of an awesome swap that benefited research that will combat children’s cancer. Who could say no to that? I decided to send a cookie that would be different, yummy, chocolate-y and somewhat difficult, because I am a masochist/love a challenge. Enter the tassie. 

So, in the spirit of the holidays, I’ll just come right out and be honest with all of you: I had never heard of tassies until about a month ago. Neither had anyone around me. In fact, Jimmy was so confused that once I told him what I was baking, the only question he had was “that’s what showgirls wear right? Those are edible?” 

The places this boy’s mind goes. (Full disclosure: I also thought this.)

Basically, a tassie is a mini-pie that is so mini it is a cookie. Yes. That sounds about right. And because I was looking at making this ultra-chocolatey, I decided to go fudge-filled. And because I wanted to be different/make my life hard/have lots of chai, I decided to go chai-flavored fudge. Set aside a morning and afternoon, friends. Make a hot Spotify playlist. These are worth it.

For the Tassie shells, adapted from

The Cookie Bible

3 ounces of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup of butter, softened

1 cup of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons loose chai for rolling, optional

For the Chai Chocolate Fudge

3 1/2 cups of white sugar

1 1/3 cups of milk

1/4 cup loose chai

2 black tea bags

1/4 cup of light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne

1/4 cup of butter, cut into small chunks

1 teaspoon of vanilla

For the tassies, beat cream cheese and butter until combined. Stir in flour and sugar until dough forms. Cover and chill for at least one hour, until dough is firm.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 24 one-inch balls and place each ball in the cup of a mini muffin tin. Roll in loose chai if desired.

Press dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of each cup. 

Bake for 20 minutes, until the shells are golden brown. Allow to cool completely before popping shells out of the tin (you may need to use a spoon to help them). 

Time to get fudgin’. Ready a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and a clip-on candy thermometer. Combine milk, sugar, loose chai and black tea bags in saucepan over medium-low heat. 

Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil, takes on a light-brown tone and smells like my parents’ house on Christmas morning. Oh, so my dad makes a kick-ass chai most holiday mornings, and it makes the house smell spicy-sweet. So, just cook until you start smelling the good stuff (chai. It’s chai). Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl. Clean out saucepan thoroughly (or use a new one, rich guy) and pour milky tea mixture back into pan. Add in corn syrup, salt, cocoa powder and spices. Clip thermometer to the side of the pan– making sure the tip does not touch the bottom of the pan– and place over medium heat. Stir constantly, until the syrup and cocoa powder have dissolved. 

Continue to cook fudge mixture until it reaches 234°F. Watch the mixture closely, as it will get hot very, very quickly. If you’re worried about spillage, you can place a wooden spoon over the pan to stop it from bubbling over, like so:

Once it reaches the desired temperature, remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla until fully incorporated. Stir vigorously for about two minutes until you are sugar no solids remain, then pour fudge mixture into tassie shells.

Allow to set, about one hour, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt if desired. 

Swoon. 
Swoon. 

So, thoughts? They’re mini pies, people. They’re mini chai chocolate pies, people! How could that be wrong? They weren’t. They were so right that I am currently making them– as in I am waiting for the shells to bake up at this very moment. You could pretty much fill them with whatever your hearts desire– that means fudge, ganache (which I’m thinking I’ll go with tonight), various holiday candies, dried fruit (*shudder*), peanut butter– you name it. It’s the holidays, people. Time for weird dreams and decadent cookie. 

 

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Fancy Pantsy Frozen Desserts Grown Up People Desserts Ice Cream No-Bake Recipes Strange and Yummy

Sharp Cheddar/My Ice Cream’s Better

Points and pints [of ice cream, or beer, whichever floats your boat, or your ice cream beer float] to whoever gets the reference in the title of today’s post! Come on readers, I believe in you! I believe less in my ability to transport ice cream to your residence successfully, but that’s a conundrum for another day.

I know I made you all wait a little bit longer than anticipated for this ice cream recipe. Your apple pie/galette is likely long gone, your anger at me boiled over and crystallized into a delicate, angry snowflake. Well, friends, all I can say is that I was truly exhausted after Turkey Day. Before Thanksgiving I had made a cooking schedule for myself, one to which I strictly adhered, and ended up completely spent. My lower back ached as if I’d been kicked mercilessly by a kickboxing banshee. If you’re curious, I made (*deep breath*) corn bread, roasted Brussels sprouts, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, an apple galette, cheddar ice cream and chai ice cream. This was part of a meal for six. In a teeny apartment. And then we transported all of it to my parents’ house. Some of you are laughing at me. I get that. Like why is she all braggy over this? Normally I am not one to give myself credit for, like, anything, but I will say I am proud of my contributions this year. Food is love/love is cooking monstrous amounts of food for your peoples. #noregrets

I rewarded myself for all of the hard work by harassing my parents’ dog all Thanksgiving Day. If you don’t speak dog, I’ll just translate for you. He’s basically saying something along the lines of “seriously, it’s enough. Put me down, we are barely friends. Stop trying to make this happen. “

BUT. I would have regretted not sharing this wonderful, wonderful cheddar ice cream recipe with all of you. Yes, I know a good number of you are looking at your screens right now, throwing me shade and wondering exactly how many Pumpkin Old Fashioneds I downed before deciding cheddar in a dessert was a good idea (Answer: three. #noregrets). Well, this is a thing folks. I believe it’s as American as apple pie, in fact. A good portion of this great country apparently enjoys throwing a slice of sharp cheddar atop a warm slice of apple pie, and I believe in cheese, so I pretty much went for this with gusto. The original notes on this recipe recommend that this treat only be eaten with an apple-heavy dessert, as the cheddar is sharp enough to be somewhat overwhelming without the sweetness of the apple for balance. My family and I, however, found this to be delightful on its own. I leave it to you to decide how best to consume this wondrous creation.

Cheddar Ice Cream (makes 1 pint) adapted from Serious Eats

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar

3/4 cup of heavy cream

3/4 cup of half and half

4 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Salt, to taste

Save some to snack on while you work. I'm always looking out for you. Remember that.)
Save some to snack on while you work. I’m always looking out for you. Remember that.)

In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow in color. Stir in cream and half and half until fully incorporated. Place over medium heat, stirring mixture frequently, until it begins to thicken and a custard sticks to the back of your spoon and leaves a clean, sharp-ish line when you swipe your (clean!) finger across it.

 

Remove pan from heat and pour in cheddar. Allow the mixture to stand for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then whisk to combine. Use an immersion blender to fully mix, or transfer the mixture to a regular blender and blend until pureed. Add in salt, to taste (don’t forget that this is cheese ice cream, ya’ll. Really make sure you’re tasting after every salting.)

Pour custard through a fine strainer, into a heatproof covered container. Chill in refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours, then churn in your ice cream maker according to instructions (mine recommends 20 minutes).

Transfer mixture back to an airtight container and freeze until ready to use.

As you can see, this isn't some loud, bright yellow. If you're looking to prank a loved/liked/tolerated one, you could totally try to pass this off as lemon ice cream for kicks. Please try this and get back to me. 
As you can see, this isn’t some loud, bright yellow. If you’re looking to prank a loved/liked/tolerated one, you could totally try to pass this off as lemon ice cream for kicks. Please try this and get back to me. 

So, verdict? Everyone at the table was suspicious. Not hesitant, not wary, but full-on suspicious. My dad thought the cheddar from the mac n’ cheese accidentally made its way into my ice cream and I was just trying to save face (he knows I am a hot buttered mess when I cook). However, once they saw me and Jimmy plop scoops onto our slices of galette, (indeed I did pay Jimmy in personal pumpkin pies for this, and it was worth every hunk of butter) they were curious.

Everything's bettah with cheddah. 
Everything’s bettah with cheddah. 

Curiosity turned to interest and interest turned into pure delight. Both of my sisters even enjoyed scoops without any accompaniments, so I think it’s safe to say this is one strange custard you can surely enjoy by itself, and with #noregrets.

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Desserts with Fruit Fancy Pantsy Grown Up People Desserts Holiday desserts Pies Stuff Your Parents Would Like

The Happy-ish Hunchback of Queens Humbly Presents… An Apple Galette!

There is a chance that all of this pre-holiday food prep is the best diet ever. No one ever talks about it, but prepping for Thanksgiving leaves a person with very little time to eat. Especially if you work a full-time job, live a half-mile’s walk away from the closest grocery store, insist on purchasing twenty pounds of Turkey Day-related food items at said grocery store right after work, and then head home… to start cooking. (Btw, I have absolutely no idea how people with children/various family members to care for also manage to do all of this. Props to you. I do not know what I will do when I make the babies. I will probably try to turn them into helper elves as soon as they’re strong enough to sit up unassisted.) Four hours later, here I am, watching some crappy medical procedural and nursing a fancy cocktail while also nursing some busted shoulders that are giving me serious Quasimodo vibes. 

I wouldn’t trade a single second of it. The last week and a half or so have been a whirlwind of ups and downs– awesome shows and get-togethers with people I love, but also moments of feeling forgotten and sort of inadequate for various reasons. This is a welcome distraction. It’s nice to be focused on what’s cookin’ in our small-as-all-hell kitchen and NOT on what I’m missing out on (or fearing missing out on) on social media. I highly recommend this as a form of rapid-fire therapy. 

Speaking of therapy… an apple a day something something hooray. Right? I’m so good at this. Anyway, how about working on a rustic, sweet n’salty apple galette to add to your Thanksgiving table? 

Apple Galette (adapted from Bon Appetit)

For the dough

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 cup of all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons of cold salted butter, cut into small chunks

1 large egg, beaten

For the filling

1/4 cup of salted butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 pound of baking apples (I used Pink Lady apples and needed 2 big ones to fill this), washed and sliced to about 1/8″ thickness

1/4 cup of dark brown sugar

1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water

1 tablespoon of white sugar

So, I’m going to start off by saying this: a food processor would come in EXTREMELY handy for the recipe. I am proud and happy to say I have successfully made my first easy pie crusts by just sort of hanging back, not stressing, and using the bejeebus out of mine. 

On that note, if you are working with a food processor, here’s what I did. First, pulse together flour, sugar and cinnamon until combined. Add in cold butter chunks and pulse until pea-sized chunks form in the dough. With food processor running, pour in beaten egg and continue to pulse until dough forms in a ball, about one minute.

Jabba the Hutt, OR the easiest pie dough ever? You decide. (It's the second one, guys)
Jabba the Hutt, OR the easiest pie dough ever? You decide. (It’s the second one, guys)

If you’re not working with a food processor, sift together dry ingredients until combined, then cut in butter chunks with forks or a pastry cutter until pea-sized chunks are formed. Fold in egg mixture gently until dough is wet, then gently use fingers to bring dough together.

Form dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least two hours.

Now, preheat your oven to 375°F. (My food processor also hooked me up when it came to slicing apples, which is something I do not enjoy doing, especially when my hands are medium-rare from burns and I am bent over like a gargoyle. It’ll slice the apples for ya, people! Keep your apples set aside for the time being.)

Add butter and vanilla to a small saucepan and place over low-medium heat until browned and fragrant. Set aside. 

On a floured surface, roll out dough to a 14 x 10 inch rectangle or a 12 inch circle, whichever you prefer. Transfer dough to parchment-covered baking sheet. Overlap apple slices on top of dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Brush browned butter over apples, then sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the top. Fold edges of dough over gently to keep the shape you want. Brush egg/water mixture over dough, then sprinkle with white sugar.

Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Remove when the crust is browned and the apples are nice and bubbly.

Let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. OR, you can make this up to two days ahead, just wrap it tightly and keep at room temperature.

Sooooo…. about that. This is a make-ahead deal for me, so it’s currently resting until Turkey Day. And our city apartment is such a city apartment that my galette is currently wrapped up and resting comfortably on our coffee table with a sign over it… 

Animal acts as a sort of bouncer. Earning his keep over here. 
Animal acts as a sort of bouncer. Earning his keep over here. 

Yep. If you, too, plan on resting this, you can reheat gently… 200°F for 15 minutes should do it. Then, you can serve this with cheddar ice cream. Oh you heard me correctly. Stay tuned, friends, recipe’s a-comin!

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Categories
Boozy Desserts Fancy Pantsy Strange and Yummy

New Twist On An Old Fashioned, From An Old Lady With New Tastes

Gonna miss this band. :'(
Gonna miss this band. 😥

WHEW I’m beat, friends A few days ago I went to the last-ever Pearl and the Beard show, and it was bananas. In good and bad ways, that is. I think I’m getting too old for the standing-room only situation, especially when that room is packed with 600 people who are all rabid fans and think pressing up against you will get them closer to the stage. I mean, I love me some good music, but when the woman behind you gets kicked out for “wanting to just dance for everyone” and ends up instead shoving everyone around her, you kind of lose your taste for the small-venue game. Oh, also, it was pouring that night and I almost slipped into two different piles of garbage while walking down a narrow street to and from the venue. It’s the universe telling me to slow it way down, guys. (The show was still ridiculously fun and I’ll miss that band like hell. But I am outta the game, folks.)

Speaking of being old, let’s talk fancy drinks. We’ve already talked about snacks to keep us going while we’re cooking our respective feasts, now it’s on to the boozy booze, people! I’ve finally perfected the autumnal cocktail of our dreams (our includes all of my of-age drinking buddies. no babies allowed from this point on, sorry ya’ll! Tomorrow’s post will be fun for all ages, promise).

This is a pretty simple twist on an Old Fashioned that incorporates some Thanksgiving favorites. It’s easy and can be easily doubled or tripled if you’ve got guests and you’re feeling generous. I’d highly recommend it as your signature cocktail if your friends are bourbon people. Also, if your friends are bourbon people, have them call me please. We can be homies. 

Pumpkin Old Fashioned (makes one serving)

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 lemon wedge

1 heaping tablespoon of pumpkin butter (make your own!)

1.5 ounces ounces of bourbon (W.L. Weller is my absolute favorite)

Splash of water

Fresh cranberries for garnish, optional

Place sugar and lemon wedge in a cocktail shaker and muddle with a wooden spoon until lemon fragrance fills the space around you. Add in pumpkin butter, bourbon, water and a few ice cubes and shake until fully mixed. Pour into a tumbler glass and serve with ice and cranberries if desired.

Ok, so, this is POTENT. It’s delicious, but boy is it strong. Drink with caution and make sure you’ve got a designated driver/biker/razor scooter operator nearby to escort you home. Old people priorities, guys.

Categories
Chocolate Cheer Easy Baking Fancy Pantsy Grown Up People Desserts Holiday desserts

They See Me Rollin’ (These Easy Peasy Peanut Butter Banana Rum Rolls)

Do you ever feel like you’re being… watched? Holy bleepers guys, Dove be spying. 

But seriously, somebody stop me, and not in the quirky Jim Carrey way. I need to either not purchase anything for a long while or come into a large sum of money, stat. I think I’d do well with a great sum of money. I’d add the word “Von” before my last name and wear silk gloves and roll all of my R’s, like fancy people do. This is fancy, yes. Stop asking questions. Questions aren’t fancy. 

Anyway, I know I said I’d be back last week with some serious sweets, and I was totally planning on it, but then the only “sweets” I could permit myself for a while came in a bottle of gross cough syrup. Yup, of course, just as I was talking about exciting plans and busy days and fun fun fun, I was hit with a dumb friggin’ cold. Though I still did follow through on all of my plans. One of which fell on one of the rainiest days we’ve had in a while. I almost fell into a pile of garbage. Twice. It was awesome. I think it extended my cold by a few days. More on that in my next post. 

For now? GUYS! THANKSGIVING STUFF! How psyched are you? I’m crazy psyched, especially since I’ve just recently gotten my taste buds back (colds + loads of garlic + chicken broth = fresh hell on earth) and have spent the better part of the last three days recipe testing. While we get to the good, someone more time consuming stuff, why don’t we talk sweet snacks? I picked up couple of rolls of phyllo dough and want to gift you all with a quick, easy peasy treat. Let’s [chocolate peanut butter banana rum] roll.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Rum Rolls (makes one dozen) 

6 sheets of phyllo, thawed

1/4 cup of butter, melted

cinnamon sugar for sprinkling, optional*

2 large ripe bananas, sliced

1 cup of powdered sugar

1 cup of peanut butter, smooth or chunky, depending on your tastes (I used chunky)

1/4 cup of dark rum, optional but recommended if you’re feelin’ it

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips or chunks

*for cinnamon sugar, sift together 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with 1/4 cup of white sugar until combined.

To begin, preheat your oven to 375°F and butter a large cookie sheet. In a large bowl, mix together banana slices, sugar and peanut butter. Using a hand mixer on medium speed (Jimmy got me this one, and it’s the absolute nicest gift ever, just in case you want to buy something frivolous *wink*), combine until pureed. Add in rum until fully incorporated, then fold in chocolate chunks and set aside.

Lay phyllo sheets out on a clean surface and place a clean, damp kitchen towel over the sheets to keep them from drying. Gently lay one sheet out on a clean surface and delicately brush with melted butter. Place another sheet over this one and brush again with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if desired. 

Drop a heaping tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture at the top of one of the sheets, then roll carefully and tightly into a roll. Brush lightly with more butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until the top and sides are lightly browned and crisp. Let cool for 10 minutes, and serve while still warm.

So, these would totally be perfect as part of your Thanksgiving desserts, but I pretty much ripped into them as soon as they were cool enough to eat… the common cold meant that I had basically been without proper sweets for, like, three days. Do you know what that could do to a woman?!

Yup. Nuts. 
Yup. Nuts. 

If you’re cooking the entire Thanksgiving feast for your guests and are tired as all hell and kind of at a loss for the sweet portion, these should be your go-to dessert. They’re easy, quick and the yum game = strong. You could even swap out or add in some ingredients– mini marshmallows instead of bananas, pecans instead of peanut butter, etc. Get crazy, ya’ll.