You guys, this comic right here is my whole life right now. It’s been circling the interwebs for a few years now, but I’m really feeling it this week. I could elaborate on the latest sads, but I’d rather just direct you to that beautiful, powerful, perfect comic. Even if you don’t come back here– though, um, please come back, we have sweets– please read that lovely piece of work.
Today’s post is going to be short, because maaaaaaaaan do I have a lot to think about thanks to good old Bill Watterson, and also because this is such. an easy. recipe. I actually whipped it up this morning while waiting for my tortillas to warm up (breakfast tacos FTW!). Let’s say you’ve got a whole lot of pumpkin laying around and you don’t feel like going the pie route, or you just don’t have the time to melt chocolate for pumpkin cups, or you just… really like dips. All good man, I love everything (except Stamos and mint in my desserts). Oh, or you’re having a Halloween party and need to feed a crowd, because you’re a cool person who has parties and hey, I’m delightful at parties. I bring pumpkin dip!
Pumpkin Dip (makes a big old bowl)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
1/2 mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mini chocolate chips, for garnish
Cocoa powder, for garnish
Okay, ready? In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or a wooden spoon, mix together pumpkin puree, cinnamon and brown sugar until combined. Add in cheeses and blend until fully incorporated, then whisk in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract until you’ve got your dip. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and dust with cocoa powder, if desired, then chill until ready to serve.
Wait… that’s it?
Yeah dudes! Easiest dessert ever! In terms of stuff to dip into it, fingers are a good option, as long as they are yours or those of someone you trust and are definitely attached to working hands…though Halloween is approaching, and who am I, really, to judge you and your parties, cool people of the web? I actually threw some leftover pie dough into the waffle iron on a whim and ended up enjoying these as mini pumpkin pie bites, but pita chips, cookies or fancy crackers would be yummy, too.
I know, I know… these are regular chocolate chips, but *someone* ate all the minis in the pantry so I had to make do.
This is so easy, so fast, so yummy, and perfectly party-appropriate. I’ll prove it at your next shindig, which I’m totally invited to, right?
And no, I did *not* make my birthday cake this year. Though I have made rainbow cookies in the past, I decided to take a break from baking for myself this year. Also, my boyfriend strictly forbade me from doing so, because he’s nice, and also because I think last year I got a little scary whilst making this delicious monstrosity.
How was the birthday overall? Bittersweet might be the best word. Sweet because, well, see above, bitter because well, see me. But as I’ve heard time and again, thirty is weird. When I was ten, thirty seemed like *it.* It was the age when I’d have everything down pat, when I’d be acting opposite Mark-Paul Gosselaar in a hit feature film (nope, not elaborating), when I’d be poppin’ out perfect babies and livin’ phat in the hills. Which hills, I do not know. The Beverly ones seemed interesting, because OH HAYYYYY Dylan McKay. It should be noted that when I was ten, I had trouble separating television from reality. That may or may not still be the case.
Instead, thirty feels like the age where an invisible hand decided to hold a mirror up to my life, and DAMN. DAMN DAMN DAMN has it been hard to look. Of course, if it’s not obvious, I do feel lucky. Lucky that I’m still able to write and bake, lucky that I’m working, lucky that I’ve got some love in my life, lucky that I still have a few folks I can count on to whine and wine and dine with. But I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not taking this particular birthday as well as past ones, for various reasons. Maybe that’s necessary. Reflection is hard, but I’m hoping to come out of this funk feeling wiser, stronger and healthier.
Speaking of healthy, this dessert is anything but. BUT! It’s got pumpkin, you fall freaks! (I, too, am one of these. No shame, friends). Also, it’s no-bake, for all of my I-CANNOT-BAKE-FOR-SHIZ homies. Let’s do this!
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cups (makes 12 big cups or 24 mini cups)
1 15-ounce can of pureed pumpkin*
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 cup of mascarpone
1 cup of natural unsweeted salted peanut butter
3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar, more if you’d like the peanut butter portion sweeter
3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips/chunks/chocolate chopped into small pieces, melted and kept warm
Set aside either a 12-cup muffin tin or 24-cup mini muffin tin, and line the tin with cupcake wrappers.
Also, before we start, and before people start yelling at me over that article we all saw claiming canned pumpkin wasn’t real pumpkin… IT ABSOLUTELY IS. Snopes for the win!
In a medium-sized bowl, using a stand mixer on high speed, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar and cinnamon. Beat in the mascarpone until fully incorporated, and set aside.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar, adding more sugar to taste if you like it a bit sweeter.
Now, you can either just totally go crazy and combine your pumpkin and peanut butter mixtures full-on, OR, if you favor one flavor over another, add a bit of one mixture to the other until you’re happy with the taste. Really, you cannot go wrong, and if you have extra of one or both mixtures, they’re INCREDIBLE with french toast, waffles, or just totally naked. Originally, my plan was to have this be heavily-PB with a hint of pumpkin, but every time I brought a spoonful to Jimmy, he’d ask for more pumpkin. I finally settled on the measurements above, which will give you a perfectly balanced peanut buttery and pumpkin-y cup. Set aside this mixture for now.
To assemble your cups, coat each cupcake wrapper with a thin layer of chocolate. If you’re using full-sized cups, I’ve found it’s easiest to use a small rubber spatula to coat the bottom and sides. If you’re using mini cups, the back of a teaspoon is better. You want the bottoms and sides of your liners to be completely opaque with chocolate, but not terribly thick.
Once you’ve coated all liners, refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Once the chocolate has hardened, place even scoops of pumpkin-peanut butter mixture into each cup.I made regular-sized cups and added a heaping tablespoon and a half to each cup. Cover each cup with more chocolate, and chill in the refrigerator again for at least fifteen more minutes, until the cups have hardened. Let them sit in room temperature for a few minutes before serving.
So I figured I might as well continue the tradition of absolute junk at all possible hours of the day, so these were enjoyed at breakfast. Pumpkin’s a fruit, peanut butter has protein, I am woefully under-educated about nutrition and will do anything I can to justify my sugar intake, you get how it is.
But how were they? They. Were. Perfection. My lazy ass also loved how quickly these cups went from being a mere rumble in my belly/twinkle in my brain to being actual, delectable desserts. These were fast, easy, and SO AUTUMN, you guys. MUST MAKE!
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?!
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.
You know how they always say that television is super healthy for your soul? They say that. Someone does. Well who cares who “someone” is? Readers, meet Television, my new BFFL.
And what, you might ask, am I watching? Well, given that I am uncool and often at least a year behind all of you hippy dippies, I’m on series one of The Great British Bake-Off, which is easily now my all-time favorite cooking-based competition show. Everyone on this show is so damned nice, and I’m amazed/worried over how emotionally attached I’ve become to every single contestant. Perhaps this says more about my current emotional state than it does about the quality of the show, but NO MATTER! You all need to be as obsessed as I am. This is the kind of show that could make a cold old soul like this one melt like buttah. I mean, there’s a freaking seventeen year old who is owning the season so far, and I’m too busy rooting for her to jealously question my own life choices. The show’s got HEART, people!
How was everyone’s Halloween? We ended up, at the very last minute, deciding to go to a friend’s party, which made me realize just how old I’m getting. I pretty much threw a tantrum at the thought of leaving the apartment after 8pm. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have even let the house until close to midnight, and these days I’m griping to my boyfriend about going to a party. That someone was kind enough to invite us to join. I’m a terrible human.
Yup, that’s correct, I pulled out the old three-minute Princess Leia costume and Jimmy decided to be… Luke Skywalker. And then, to prove to all the other guests that he was Luke, I present to you the above. Disturbing on all of the levels, yes. I never promised you a rose garden.
What can I promise you? Panna Cotta! Panna cotta is a sometimes annoying but mostly easy, quick dessert that, when done correctly, can impress your friends/best friends/television. I decided to add booze to mine, because what else would you expect from me?
Rum Stracciatella Panna Cotta (makes 3 to 4 servings)
lightly inspired by
1 cup of half and half
1 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 packet of powdered gelatin (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons of water
2 to 3 tablespoons of dark rum, optional
handful of chocolate chips
Place water in a medium-sized bowl, then sprinkle gelatin evenly over water and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream, half and half and sugar until sugar is dissolved– it needs to be hot, but do not let the mixture come to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and rum. Set aside.
Lightly oil ramekins, tumblers, tea cups, or whatever other heatproof container you’d like to use to serve these. I used all three because I wanted to figure out which would be prettiest, and also I used the tumbler because I was afraid my panna cotta wouldn’t unmold. This is a trust circle guys. It’s important to be honest.
Stir a handful of chocolate chips into your hot cream mixture and stir lightly just until the chocolate melts and leaves a lovely spotty, ribbony pattern. Pour this mixture over your gelatin, and stir until the gelatin completely dissolves. And I mean completely. The first time I made this I didn’t realize my gelatin hadn’t completely dissolved and I was left with a delicious but messy custardy thing that fell apart as soon as I tried to unmold. I was PISSED. Once it’s completely dissolved, pour into your receptacles, and chill for 2 to 4 hours, until set.
Now you can totally leave these in your ramekins/tumblers if you’d like, but if you’re looking to unmold them, run a very thin knife around the edge of your panna cotta, place a plate on top and invert.
No matter how you decide to eat these… oh em gee, ya’ll. It’s a wonder. Believe it or not, the rum does not overpower these and instead gives them a nice caramel-like finish. These are also pretty quick to prepare and make quite a nice treat for your party guests/self. I just had one for breakfast. Ok, no I didn’t. I had two. I had two for breakfast. Like I said, circle of trust.
Do you ever jokingly say this to describe yourself? I do. Jokingly. Jokingly. Do people ever take me seriously? Periodically. Eh…often.
Almost always. Some dude I barely know recently told me my resting bitch face was the reason I wasn’t married yet. MISOGYNY IS FUN, YA’LL!
Maybe it’s my fault for the whole “hahahahIHAVENOSOULhahahaha” thing that some might refer to as a “defense mechanism,” but CRAP if there was ever a time to be taken at my word…
Truthfully, I haven’t wanted to write a new post in weeks. I haven’t wanted to bake in weeks either. I’d like to claim that it’s because I’ve suddenly come into a great sum of money and was in an exotic foreign country doing…something exotic. But I wasn’t. I was home mostly, drinking [crazy pricey for my tax bracket] bourbon and crying to episodes of The Office. The Jim and Pam thing is dangerous territory guys. Show of hands: who here has fought with your significant other because of this unrealistically perfect union? The Office has the potential to destroy even the strongest of relationships. Sorry Jimmy. I love you. [BUT LIKE HOW HARD IS IT TO GET A DOCUMENTARY FILM CREW TO CUT SNIPPETS FROM OUR RELATIONSHIP TOGETHER, GUY?! WAITING ON YOUR RESPONSE.]
Oh, I’m avoiding, you say? I definitely am. I just replayed both the clean and dirty versions of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like,” a song I haven’t heard in like six years, just to prove to myself that I still know all the innocent and filthy lyrics. I do. I am proud. It is great. Avoidance is magic.
I don’t know. I feel lame. And lameness is a lame thing to discuss. I normally hate large gatherings of people I do not know, mostly because I am horribly introverted. At parties, I gravitate toward the animals (domesticated ones…usually), small children and The Cookie Table. I then pray someone will engage me, because I am very self-conscious and also incredibly weird (see: possibly wild animals, capitalizing The Cookie Table). A couple of weeks ago I found myself bawling on my boyfriend’s shoulder in an Arby’s parking lot over a particularly baaaaad get-together I’d just attended. Yes, when you are crying buckets that stain your dude’s seersucker shirt with liquid eyeliner in front of an establishment known for their roast “beef,” things are bad. It started like this: I walked in to a room with a huge grin pasted on my face–difficult to sustain if you know me–and a bunch of women I didn’t know stared daggers at me and then proceeded to ignore me for the better part of two hours. I felt like I was seven again and the cool girls at the playground didn’t like my Sunday comics collection (that I kept in a brown paper bag, just in case you thought I was making anything up to seem creative. I am fine with instead seeming lame). And I was invited! From the moment I walked in to the second I scampered away, I felt like the confused loser who couldn’t take a hint. It was awesome.
Friendship is hard, and it’s especially hard for people who have trouble finding other people to connect to in the first place. Rejection, then, is even more difficult to swallow, especially when there’s no real rhyme or reason to it. We all grow out of friendships, but I wish it were more acceptable to just say “Yo. I like you but we’re kind of over, right? Let’s wish each other well but just sort of like each other’s posts on Facebook. Yeah?” All of this to say yes, I am totally traumatized and yes, I did cry-eat lots and lots of curly fries at Arby’s. God bless that Horsey sauce.
Speaking of food and whatever…people are like doughnuts. They’re like waffles. They’re like wonuts! They’re awesome apart, but better together. Unless you’re asexual, but that doesn’t work for my simile. That’s pretty much the best I can do, guys.
A wonut is basically doughnut batter that has been waffled. It’s amazing, as are most things that are waffled. You may recognize the below recipe as a variation on the one I used for my baked doughnuts from a couple of years ago, and it works perfectly here in a waffle iron.
Olive Oil Wonuts (makes 6-7 wonuts)
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup of sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of milk
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
The next four ingredients are for lemon-rosemary wonuts
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, chopped
Powdered sugar for dusting
The next two toppings are for chocolate sea salt wonuts
1/2 cup of melted chocolate
Coarse sea salt for garnish
Heat waffle iron. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in sugar, egg, milk and olive oil until batter has formed.
Full disclosure: I could not decide between lemon rosemary wonuts and chocolate sea salt wonuts, so I made all the wonuts. If you, too, would like to make all the wonuts, divide your batter into two different bowls. Then fold lemon zest and rosemary into one bowl.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter into the center of your waffle iron, then close and cook for a minute, until wonut has set. Set aside to cool while you make the rest of your glorious wonuts.
Dust powdered sugar over the lemon rosemary wonuts if you’d like. I recommend pouring melted chocolate over the plain olive oil ones and then sprinkling sea salt on top.
Edit: I realize I was fretting so much over telling that story about the weird party I went to that I forgot to tell you all how awesome these wonuts were. You would think they’d just taste like waffles, but NO! The olive oil gives them an interesting little kick, and they actually taste like doughnuts somehow. I couldn’t decide which ones I liked more, but I will say this: the lemon rosemary wonuts were more of a breakfast treat, while the chocolate sea salt wonuts seemed like more of a dessert to me. And yes, to answer your inevitable question, I will begin work on lunch and dinner wonuts ASAP.