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

23 Nov

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. 

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Wobbly And Delicate. No, Not My Psyche: It’s A Panna Cotta Post!

6 Nov

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. 

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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.

See? They're pretty in tumblers!

See? They’re pretty in tumblers!

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.

Thoughts?

Thoughts?

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. 

 

The Force Is Strong With This Post. So Are The Sads. So Are The Pop Tarts.

23 Oct

HOLY BLEEPITY BLEEP BLEEP THE FORCE IS NIGH THE FORCE IS NIGH THE FORCE THE FORCE THE FORCE GAHHHHHHH.

How badass does this trailer look? I can’t stop watching it. Even my boyfriend, who actually saw Episodes 5 and 6 in theatres as a wee little lad, and is super psyched to experience the latest installment, is somewhat worried about me. As well he should be: see that BB8 in the sidebar under “Things I <3,” guys? I OWN IT. I know, I cannot believe it either. I purchased it during my “retail therapy is a legitimate form of therapy, stop judging me Jimmy” phase.  Do I love it? Unconditionally. Unhealthily. Completely. Did it do its job in curing me of the sads? Is this blog still called what it’s called?

Early birthday present from me, to me. #wortheverypenny #nosleeptilBB #BB8

A photo posted by @shibow on Sep 9, 2015 at 4:56pm PDT

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And speaking of that, I’m going to warn you: this post is about to get kind of heavy, and kind of very long. But there are pop tarts at the end of it so it will all be worth it. In case you’re impatient or low blood-sugary, you can totally scroll past all of this. For those of you who’ve stuck around, I kind of feel like it’s time to talk heavy. We’ve known each other a while, right? We’re past the weirdness over who pays for what, if we’re Facebook official… hell, I used your toothbrush yesterday! Real talk about the sads, in a list format:

1. Originally I wanted to post this during Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from October 4th to the 10th, but a. I was too scared and b. it [Freudian] slipped my mind. But, I have a close family member with a mental illness and have seen all of the misunderstanding, confusion, pain and stigma that comes along with it. We need to talk, guys. 

2. I am ashamed to say I was too scared to write this because I’ve already faced some… I guess interrogation is the correct word, regarding the title and theme of this blog. I’m certainly open to talk about the stigma surrounding depression, but I’ve been caught off guard by the many–and I do mean many— people who have, especially recently, tried to “cure” me of it. And it’s not something that can be cured, unfortunately. If it were, I’d be shakin’ my rump-aa to Beastie Boys tunes on an unhealthy loop instead of dealing with this ish. And while I know that there are many, many people out there who struggle with it every second of every day, I am fortunate not to be one of them. But when it hits, it hits. This essay by the amazing Sarah Silverman does a much better job of explaining all this than I ever could. 

3. On that note, we need to stop asking the question “What could you possibly have to be sad about?” My rational brain knows how bad some people have it, and it pretty much hates my irrational brain for being super selfish and thinking only of my own sadness (thus compounding the sadness, vicious cycle and all that). But, with that said, and believe it or not, I’m sort of obsessively private. When I started this blog, my original plan was to be the Batman of the internets, never revealing my true identity, forever in the shadows, with a killer fancy ride to roll through the mean streets of Queens. But, I was also hell-bent on using the name Sad Shibow, which is very unique to me, and blah blah blah people in my real life know I write this and then ask me that question in the first sentence, and then I have to answer it, but since I’m private I mostly squirm and bite my lip and hold back the ugly cries. 

4. I don’t know if I’ve become sadder as I’ve gotten older or if I’ve just become more open about it. If I had to guess, I’d guess the latter. A whole hell of awful situations rained down on me and those around me in my early twenties, and mercifully this time in my life is nowhere near as dark as that was. But as I get older, tough times do seem to hit me harder. Losing a best friend, losing a few friends, being disappointed in where I am professionally, the FOMO, (OH THE FOMO!) and the weight of knowing I’ve disappointed other people I love can all routinely send me into very unattractive bawling fits. It happens. It creeps up on you. Some days I feel like I can handle all of the garbage and more, and sometimes I feel like burrowing into a hole I dug for myself in the shady park behind my building. It’s scary to talk about, but I’m talking about it in the hopes that other people will, too. At the risk of sounding nauseatingly corny, sometimes you send signals out into the universe in the hopes of locating your tribe. Sometimes, instead of “buck up and stop your whining,” you want to hear “I understand, and I can relate. Let’s be friends, despite your weird Resting Bitch Face and affinity for nerd stuff.”

5. Different things get different people out from under that dark cloud. For some people, it’s medication. For others, it’s exercise. For me, it’s writing. And baking. Oh, yes, this is a baking blog isn’t it? This is the part with the Homemade “Pop Tarts.” The ones filled with homemade pumpkin butter.

Homemade Pumpkin Butter-Filled “Pop Tarts” (makes about 20 tarts)

For the pumpkin butter (adapted from Minimalist Baker)

(makes 1 pint of pumpkin butter)

1 15oz can of pumpkin puree 

1/3 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1/4 cup of unsweetened apple juice

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of ginger

Pinch of allspice

For the tart shell

3 cups of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

12 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into small chunks or grated 

1 egg, beaten, mixed with enough cold water to produce 1/2 cup

Now, let’s start with that pumpkin butter, yes? You could go the store-bought route, but this is a crazy easy recipe and you’ll be so damned proud of yourself for going DIY. Place all pumpkin butter ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling, bubbling boil, stirring frequently. 

Bring heat down to a simmer for at least 20 minutes, then pour into a heatproof container. Let cool before refrigerating until ready to use.

Now let’s work on our tart shell. We’re basically using a pie dough. If you’d like, you could halve the above recipe and use the other half of your dough for a kickass pie at a later date. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Add in the butter, then mix in with a pastry blender or fork. Use your fingers to continue to mix everything together just until it feels like wet sand. Stir in your egg mixture with a fork until a dough begins to come together. 

Turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead it until it holds together. Divide the dough in equal halves, then wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to one week (dough can also be frozen for up to 6 months, for those emergency pie sitches that I KNOW we all have). 

Working with one half, roll out dough into an 11 x 13 rectangle, then cut into smaller rectangles, about 5″ x 3″ or, you know, Pop-Tart size, and lay on a baking sheet. Spread about a tablespoon of pumpkin butter onto a rectangle. 

Top with another rectangle, and crimp the edges with a fork. Pierce the tops of your tarts with a fork to allow heat to escape, unless you like your tarts exploded and unavailable. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of each tart if desired. Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours. 

Preheat your oven to 375°F. When your tarts are fully frozen, send into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops are fully browned. Allow to cool for ten minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

I know what you’re thinking…LOLOLOLOL. It’s the glaze, guys. I won’t even get into it. It was hell on earth– delicious, but messy, messy hell. If I were you, I’d top these with powdered sugar and call it an evening.

BUT if you can also see the giant bite in that picture, you know I could not resist trying these. And damn am I happy I did. If I were you, I’d toast these before munching on them, just like the real deal. Use The Force. Or, um, a toaster. Whatever floats your houseboat. 

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If You Like Pina Coladas (And Reading Blogs About Depression)

16 Oct

First off, THANK YOU for all of the birthday wishes, every single one of which warmed my normally cold, deadened heart. The ol’ 2-9 started off with bagels from my favorite shop and ended with a creepy lady tickling my neck at a Brooklyn cocktail bar. I swear all of this is true. Even the stuff about the bagels. As much as I like to complain, I’m very aware of how… interesting life can get. 

…But back to the complaining for a second, because that seems to be a point of fascination for many who read this. I wish I could explain what it’s like to go through a blue spell. The thing I understand the least about depression is that not everyone experiences it. Life can seem great to outsiders and you can still feel totally stuck, sunken, sucked of energy. Some people cry a lot. I cry a lot- sometimes over The Office, sometimes because I panic and dry-heave unattractively over what my next move in life will be. Sometimes I freak out over how easy things seem for other people that feel completely impossible for me. You know. Totally normal stuff.

<img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/560c33fee4b03211bc646bbc/560c3a88e4b00340a4b982d1/5620583de4b0674069d5aff7/1444960328619//img.jpg&quot; alt="Jimmy says my hands are doing a "pretty Indian lady thing." Who the hell knows what that means, but thanks Jimmy! Also, this badass pie plate was one of the BEST things about turning 29– a birthday present from my darling sister Sylvapotamus. Jimmy says my hands are doing a “pretty Indian lady thing.” Who the hell knows what that means, but thanks Jimmy! Also, this badass pie plate was one of the BEST things about turning 29– a birthday present from my darling sister Sylvapotamus. ❤

So yes, there’s that old problem that I imagine many of us face– because my imagination is that vast and uninhibited– but that I just can’t seem to get anyone else to talk to me about. I mean have you amazing folks all really figured out how the hell life works?! Am I really that maladjusted that the frightened/suspicious side-eye is now everyone’s resting face around me? How are you all so… so cool

I guess we can blame my sad spell on the change in weather, or Stamos, but there are other factors that I’ll be brave enough to talk about after this blog post, because they’re difficult emotions and there is some booze in this. I was bored and feeling down and had a can of coconut cream to use up, so here comes some Pina Colada Pie.

 

Pina Colada Pie (makes one 9-inch pie)

For the graham cracker crust

6 graham cracker sheets, finely ground

1/3 cup of butter, melted and cooled

For the Pina Colada filling

1 14oz can of cream of coconut

1 cup of pineapple chunks 

1/2 cup of sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut

To start, preheat your oven to 350°F and set aside a 9-inch pie plate. For the graham cracker crust, mix together your cracker crumbs and butter in a small bowl, then press evenly into the bottom of your pie plate. Send into the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. 

Set aside to cool while making your filling. For the filling, you’ll need a large, large bowl and the ugliest/baking-est clothes you own, because this is messy. 

Mix together your coconut cream and pineapple chunks, then, using a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium, mix in your sugar. Be warned that if you did not heed my earlier advice about the bowl and ugly baking clothes, you will be finding pineapple chunks for a long time in places you did not know your kitchen had. Maybe it’s better to use a blender for this. (I never promised genius-level tricks here guys, just posts about how sad life is and PIE.) Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add in your salt. Fold in shredded coconut until evenly distributed– batter should be runny. 

Pour into pie plate and send into the oven until pie is set and the sides are lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Leave to cool, because… SURPRISE! We’re making Rum Meringue! I know! I love you too!

To brown your meringue, set your oven to broil. 

Rum Meringue

3 egg whites

1/3 cup of sugar

3 tablespoons of dark rum

Very rummy,very yummy.

Very rummy,very yummy.

 

In a very clean, dry bowl using equally clean, dry beaters, whisk egg whites using a mixer on high speed. Beat until soft peaks begin to form, then gradually add in sugar until peaks become stiffer. Beat in rum until fully incorporated, then gently spread evenly on top of pie using a rubber spatula. Carefully place under your broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.

So you’re all like “LOL that’s not lightly browned!” Well, fine, but to be fair I’m still a little traumatized from that time I set a S’mores cake on fire. You’ll be better, I know you will.

Anyway, you’re going to want to serve this cake either at room temperature or cold, and then…

Sweet mama. It’s like a pina colada nestled inside of a hug. The rum from the meringue gives it just enough of a boozy treat feeling, and the filling tastes like vacation. Yup, yes, I am sticking to that. Must. Make. 

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He Who Shall Not Be Named Ruins A Day That I Don’t Feel Like Talking About (I Made Cake)

6 Oct

But not birthday cake. Apparently that would be sad. And I am not one to be sad

This isn’t sad. Neither is this. Nope.

Nope. 

Yeah, so… it’s early October, which can only mean two things: the Fall TV season has started, and my birthday is nigh (as in, today. bleh). And that first thing also apparently means another thing. Ugh:

THE HELL? Who let you back in to ruin my life? I knew it. I felt it. The air was heavy with the scent of apples and terror; there was to be some (*shudder*) Stamos in my doomed future. Just the name, the name alone is upsetting. Jimmy is now well-trained enough to change the channel as soon as he hears either “John Sta-” (changed) or “Uncle Je”-(switched). But seriously, things have been lame lately. I, like many humans, have a tendency to want to cry uncontrollably around my birthday and I sort of don’t know why. It’s not really so much because I feel old– as I drunkenly found out last Saturday night, I can still climb a chain-link fence like a boss (though I also went to bed around 9:30 that night. “Bed” being the F train, but still, I would have been out cold if I had not been roused at my actual stop by my trusted companion). It’s more because I find the passage of time and all that comes with it to be almost too much to handle. So much is different this year, so much that I always thought would be the same– people I thought I’d know forever that I had to let go of, ideas about myself that I’ve had to change, velvet scrunchies becoming popular again. These things can do irreversible damage to one’s psyche. Permission to sleep this year off and come back for the little 3-0? Granted? Yes?

While you ponder, let’s talk about cake. Or, more accurately, Things That Are Greater Than Or Equal To Cake But Are Shaped Like Cake. Guys I didn’t know what to call this monstrosity. WTF Cake seemed like it was probably taken, I’m So So Sad Cake seems too on-the-nose, and Chocolate Chip Cookie/Peanut Butter Cheesecake/Dark Chocolate Brownie Cake with Peanut Butter Ganache seemed… lengthy. So bear with the title.

Not Birthday Cake, Because Apparently Baking Your Own Is Sad

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie layer

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup of butter (I recommend browning it first: set in a saucepan over medium heat, allow to melt and then brown until you start to see little buttery bits and it smells nutty)

1 cup of brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

1/2 cup of chocolate chips or chunks

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling, optional

For the Peanut Butter Cheesecake layer

1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter

6 tablespoons of half-and-half

3 to 4 mini peanut butter cups, chopped (yeaaahhhh)

For the Brownie Layer (adapted from Smitten Kitchen, also first post on this blog!)

3/4 cup of cocoa powder

1 cup of white sugar

10 tablespoons of butter, softened 

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup of flour

Yeah. This is a lot. Shibow never said this would be easy, just that it would be worth it, and NOT SAD AT ALL. Let’s WORK. 

For the cookie layer, preheat oven to 350°F and generously butter an 8×8 round cake pan. Combine all ingredients except coarse salt until batter forms. Gently fold in chocolate chips until distributed evenly. Spread batter in pan, evening out the top with a rubber spatula, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is set and the sides have browned. Sprinkle sea salt on top if using, then let cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. 

GIANT. COOKIE. 

GIANT. COOKIE. 

Let’s work on our brownie layer next, since the oven is already on and we’re the kind of people who want our cake, want it now, and are slightly, disturbingly obsessive about the goals we make when the goals we make are cake-related. Preheat the oven to 325°F this time, and wash out that large bowl you used for the cookie layer, because you’re gonna need it again (fancy rich folks, sure, use another large bowl, whatever, not even bitter at all about it, kudos for making all those good life choices). Cover the bottom and sides of an 8×8 round cake pan with foil. Combine cocoa powder, butter, sugar and salt in bowl and sift together until lightly mixed. Heat in microwave for up to a couple of minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir everything together (alternatively, you can set this over a simmering pot of water as long as you’re not accident prone, which is to say, as long as you’re not me). You can stop when it’s warm but not hot and appears grainy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, with a wooden spoon, until mixture takes on a nice sheen. Stir in flour and beat vigorously until you’ve got yourself a gorgeous batter. Send into the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is set and a cake tester comes out with just a few delectable crumbs on it (that you will not immediately lick, for you have manners and know the dangers of Licking Hot Things. It’s late guys. I’m well aware of how accidentally dirty this whole post is, and IDC). Let cool completely before removing from foil and pan.

If you’re not totally done with me yet, let’s work on our cheesecake middle (also what I call my torso, waka-waka?). Beat cream cheese with electric mixer on high until fluffy, then gradually add in sugar until combined. Mix in peanut butter, then slowly add in half-and-half until the mixture is creamy and totally smooth. Gently fold in chopped peanut butter cups and spread into a generously buttered, foil-lined 8×8 cake pan (yes, of course I recommend using the same pan over again thrice. Not the same foil though. We’re not animals). Freeze until completely solid, at least an hour. Remove and sandwich between your giant cookie and giant brownie. Refrigerate while making your ganache. 

Just some previews. idk. The paper towel? I knew this was going to be messy and I wanted napkins nearby, but I figured it would just make sense to have them under the cake, so I could just rip some paper towels off the actual cake to save time. I'm joking. No I'm not. I am. (I'm not)

Just some previews. idk. The paper towel? I knew this was going to be messy and I wanted napkins nearby, but I figured it would just make sense to have them under the cake, so I could just rip some paper towels off the actual cake to save time. I’m joking. No I’m not. I am. (I’m not)

Peanut Butter Ganache

2/3 cup of heavy cream

6 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter

Set chocolate aside in a heatproof bowl. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan until simmering but not boiling. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for one minute before stirring. Continue to stir until chocolate has melted and mixture is shiny. Stir in peanut butter until melted, then immediately pour this glorious nectar over your cake, letting it spill over the sides like the beautiful disaster it is. Refrigerate until ganache has set.

Top with more peanut butter cups if you like (you like). 

Top with more peanut butter cups if you like (you like). 

IT'S SO SHINY

IT’S SO SHINY

Uhhhh…. I know. I’m crazy. This is madness. It’s pure madness. But I needed it, dammit. I needed that glorious, messy, indulgent, unbelievably unhealthy madness.

Pretty much my view for the past couple days, because I love this cake and I am a shut-in.

Pretty much my view for the past couple days, because I love this cake and I am a shut-in.

Oh and other people had this cake and were able to confirm that it was completely not sad but, instead, positively OMG. 

So? Well. Currently I am sippin’ on some serious Courvosier, eating some Not Birthday (and Not Sad) Cake, and listening to Biggie, throwing my hands in the air, because I’mz a true player. Only two of those things are true, and it’s the thing about eating cake and listening to Biggie, because BIGGIE, and also because I have often spoken about how broke I am due to circumstance, the economy and some Star Wars-related purchases I recently made. I guess there are worse ways to spend one’s… regular old Tuesday. Baby. BABAYYYYY.   

 

Sad Shibow Buys An Ice Cream Maker, Just In Time For Unseasonably Cold Weather.

3 Oct

* Looks around *

* Is confused *

* Dips toe into slushy, creamy, sugary water-like substance that appears to be ice cream *

Sad Shibow? Is…is that you?

HI FRIENDS! For those of you just joining, pay no attention to the above disoriented blabbering. This place has always been…this place! For those of you who’ve been homies for life… it’s a site redesign! What are your thoughts on the matter? I quite like it. Longtime readers may have noticed (and praised) the disappearance of my creepily large, bloodshot eyes from the header image, a change that was made a while ago, after People I Work With–capitalized because, important and scary– began questioning what exactly was making my peepers so red (I had terrible sleeping habits for many years. I know. I wish that story were less boring too.) Ever since that small change, I’ve been slowly working on improving the look of the site over the past year, likely because, selfishly, I feel compelled to continue to talk about sad things but simultaneously hope you’ll all be too enamored with the things I bake and the general look of the site to actually pity me. CHECK OUT THAT WORD CLOUD IN THE SIDEBAR (I’m having a crummy time of it and am trying to buoy my spirits by changing it up around here). Now which part of that last sentence spoke to you?

So, with that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s chat. Remember when I told you that I was engaging in some serious retail therapy to beat the blues? WELL! I can’t stop. Guys I really can’t. I need my credit card number Eternal Sunshine’d from my spotty mind, for I have discovered the art of earning miles with my purchases, and I am taking far too much advantage. Do I have a particular destination in mind, you ask? Well, of course…not. But I’ll sure as hell be able to pay for it with miles I’ve racked up from buying the ice cream maker of my dreams and Star Wars-themed Halloween costumes for the family dog.

Indeed, just in time for an extremely cold, windy, possibly hurricane-y October, I have finally purchased a machine that will allow me to make any and every frozen dessert I desire. And did I start out with something simple? Pish posh! Vanilla schmanilla! Also, I couldn’t find vanilla beans! But I did find the giant basil plant in our kitchen, and that baby needed snipping. Oh yes. It happened. Classy new layout, classy ice cream flavors… what is this place?!

Basil Ice Cream (makes one quart)

2 cups of fresh basil

2 cups of whole milk

1 cup of half and half

3/4 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of lemon zest 

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Pinch of salt

3 egg yolks (Save your egg whites! Make meringues!)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until combined. Pour puree into a medium-sized saucepan and heat until simmering, whisking constantly. 

Remove from heat and pour through a strainer– don’t worry if some basil comes through. In fact, I would encourage such a circumstance. Chill in the refrigerator until cold, about 2 hours, then pour into your ice cream maker and let it churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (every maker has different rules. Somehow I know this applies to life as well). Serve with something else fancy, like lemon egg white souffles. 

Top left and right: lemon egg white souffles. Yes, I know they fell, but they were still pretty damned delicious, airy and not at all bad for you health-wise. They complemented the basil ice cream (bottom center) quite nicely. Recipe will possibly one day follow if there's interest.

Top left and right: lemon egg white souffles. Yes, I know they fell, but they were still pretty damned delicious, airy and not at all bad for you health-wise. They complemented the basil ice cream (bottom center) quite nicely. Recipe will possibly one day follow if there’s interest.

So, thoughts? Well, I am writing this post about a week after this ice cream was first made, and my boyfriend has not stopped asking when we can make it again. It had a refreshingly light touch of basil, and mercifully wasn’t too sweet. Jimmy kept referring to how “fancy” it felt to have such a “decadent” ice cream in our humble household… and then he went and made it fancier! If you’re looking to gussy this ice cream up, or you’re looking to make some sophisticated milkshakes for your classy friends, combine two scoops of basil ice cream with a tablespoon of strawberry preserves. You. Are. Welcome.  

     

    Relationships Are Like, Whoa, Nuts. And I Made Wonuts.

    2 Sep

    the-office-quotes-7

    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.]

    I bought these sunflowers because I was having a rotten week and they brightened up the whole room. See?! I'M ALIVE INSIDE.

    I bought these sunflowers because I was having a rotten week and they brightened up the whole room. See?! I’M ALIVE INSIDE.

    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.

    This is our rosemary plant. I recommend such a plant if you want your weird city kitchen to smell fancy.

    This is our rosemary plant. I recommend such a plant if you want your weird city kitchen to smell fancy.

    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.

    SONY DSC

    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.

    SONY DSC

    SONY DSC

    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.

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