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Peanut, Peanut Butter… And Pumpkin! (And Complaining, Because Duh.)

12 Oct

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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.

Like so.

Like so.

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. 

Clothed...

Clothed…

In all its nude glory...

In all its nude glory…

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!

 

 

 

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

16 Dec

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. 

 

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

25 Nov

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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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. 

Woooooo Social anxiety is scaaaaary! It's a Halloween cupcake post.

29 Oct

HI! Have we all calmed down from that Star Wars trailer yet guys? No? I know. It’s ok. This is a safe place.

Speaking of safe places, I got some cool feedback on my last post in which I explained a little bit of the Sad in Sad Shibow. That’s heartening: I learned about things like anxiety clubs (brings me anxiety just to think about, but I learned!) and got some very sweet support from some old friends, one of whom I’m hoping to work with on an exciting project soon! Stay tuned…

Are you intrigued? Curious? Slightly spooked by my constant sads and disturbing obsession with The Force? Well, now’s the perfect time to join the fun then, because All Hallow’s Eve is creeping up on us. What are your thoughts on Halloween? Halloween’s like New Year’s Eve for some people, and I admit that in the past I have been “some people.” There is crazy dumb pressure to have a rad time, especially in the age of The Facebook: A Place For Friends/People You Meet On Buses (maybe that’s just me?) and Instagram: A Place To Make Your New Pics Look Ancient But In That Hip[stery] Way. I’m trying not to let too much of that get to me this year, mostly because my last Halloween was all kinds of lame (the heavens rained down upon my homemade “We Can Do It!” headband sign thing and smeared all of the ink and my makeup until I looked like Zombie Rosie the Riveter. I’m sure I could have made it work if I were not freezing and cranky). This year, I’m going to pay more attention to the inside of the plastic Jack-o-lantern we have filled to its brim with Halloween candy (despite the fact that we have never, ever had a trick or treater anywhere near our doorstep. JUST IN CASE, guys!!). No-pressure holidays are the best kinds of holidays. Also holidays where your head is buried in candy like an ostrich in the Sahara are the best kinds of holidays. But before you ask, yes, yes I do have a homemade Princess Leia costume at the ready in case plans do arise and I also decide to arise for these plans. No, it is not the one from the scene where she’s chained to Jabba the Hutt. #feminism

That year Jimmy and I, dressed up as, respectively, the movie The Grey and a flapper. Total couples' costume win, I know. 

That year Jimmy and I, dressed up as, respectively, the movie The Grey and a flapper. Total couples’ costume win, I know. 

I also often think about some of the heartbreaking costumes of yesteryear. The time when I was in preschool and my dad threw one of my poofy dresses at me, applied lipstick to my cheeks to mimic blush, and took me around our ‘hood to collect candy as a “princess,” (bless his heart, I still love everything about this story and will die on this hill telling it). The time I dressed up as the Pink Panther because it was the last costume at Walgreens. Or when I was the Pink Power Ranger (yeah, I recognize the pattern, I guess I was really into Pepto Bismol-colored characters from popular culture for a while there) and tripped over a Snickers bar and almost down some subway stairs as a ten year old. The Snickers bar was full-size, btw, which pains me now–what a waste! And, my favorite, the time I tried to be a Queen by using a wrap skirt as a cape because I was too cheap to buy one. Shockingly, this did not work. Someone asked if I was “dressed like a hurricane,” to which I now realize I should have simply answered, “yes, and thank you for noticing.” 

What about you guys? Best/worst costumes of all time? Talk to me folks. In return, you’ll get candy-stuffed cupcakes. No tricks here, only treats.

Halloween Skull Cupcakes (makes 10 cupcakes)

For the cupcakes

1/2 cup plus one tablespoon of butter, softened

1/2 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of milk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

10 fun-sized chocolates of your choice

For the topping

1 8-oz block of cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup of powdered sugar

Chocolate-covered raisins

Mini marshmallows

Oreos, separated

Mini peanut butter cups

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with liners. Place a fun-size chocolate in the middle of each cup. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar using a hand mixer on high. When light and creamy, beat in eggs, one at a time. In a smaller bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder until mixed, then add into wet mixture. Stir in milk until batter forms, then divide evenly between cups, over chocolates. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cupcakes have risen and the tops have set. 

That's a Mounds bar sticking out. Mmmmm.

That’s a Mounds bar sticking out. Mmmmm.

Let cool completely. While cooling, make your cream cheese icing. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together cream cheese and sugar using a hand mixer on high until smooth. Spread on cupcakes, then get to decorating.

As you can see, we got creative. Mine, on the left, had mini marshmallow teeth, chocolate chip nose holes (technical term), chocolate raisin eyes, and peanut butter cup hats with Oreo brims. Jimmy’s had marshmallow eyeballs, chocolate chip irises, and Oreo mouths with crooked chocolate chunk teeth.

So, thoughts? I enjoyed these, though I will warn you that the cake portion tastes more like a muffin, so it’s not terribly rich. I kind of think that’s perfect, though, given that these were stuffed with either Snickers Peanut Butter squares or Mounds bars, so very chocolatey. They’re also SUPER cute and would be perfect for any Halloween party.

But oh, back to the “pressure” part, because as adamant as I am about pressure-free Halloween, I felt sort of sorry for myself over how messy these turned out, and had a bit of a pity party [inside the plastic jack-o-lantern full of candy] before Jimmy made me pull myself together. Baking’s hard guys. Sometimes I don’t know what’s harder: sharing all of my personal nonsense with you, or sharing all of the desserts I’ve made, both pretty and pretty darned messy. But I’m trying to realize that messy = real, and I will take real. 

So, from my real– and really kooky looking– brood of cupcakes to you, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! Maybe swing by for some handfuls of candy and a cupcake (or three). I’ll be here 🙂

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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This Blog Celebrates A Birthday…And So Does The Man Who Dislikes It!

3 Apr

This blog is FOUR guys! That means we’re [probably] potty trained and [probably] tying our own shoelaces, unless you were one of those cool kids with velcro straps on your TMNT kicks. Whatever. Not jelly. Anyway, thank you all, as always, for keeping this blog, and me, going. Your support is everything.

Ok. Let’s talk about Easter desserts. Specifically, let’s talk about macabre Easter desserts.

Whilst searching the ‘nets for some inspiration, I came across a few pretty dark-sounding sweets. Let’s list them, yes?

1. Empty Tombs. Which, as I remarked to a friend of mine the other day, is probably a step up from “Tombs Filled With Sleeping Jesuses,” but is still not something I could see myself enjoying.

2. Chocolate Crosses. Again, not totally sold on the whole “eat a symbol of suffering while feeling really good about the sugar you’re imbibing” thing. I dunno.

3. Judas Cookies. To be fair, my friend Jeremy had the idea for Judas Cookies, which I suggested should be topped with chocolate Judas kisses, and then we had to stop before all the Catholics we both know (and some we don’t) came after us with Super Soakers full of holy water. (There’s mad blasphemy all up in that sentence, isn’t there?) My mother alone could form a very, very formidable army of such soldiers.

4. Bonkers Easter Cake. WHO WOULD COMMIT SUCH AN ATROCITY?!

So, I decided to go for something a little bit more classic. Ok, fine, full disclosure: this post is going up a couple of days before Easter, so y’all know I didn’t really make this for Easter. This was actually a birthday cake for my dad, who normally hates, in no particular order: cakes, blogs, things that are made from scratch, things that are made from scratch and then blogged about, cakes that are blogged about, and his child blogging about cakes she made from scratch.

He will very likely end me if he finds out this picture is on the internet, but seriously people: check out that swagger. Dude is holding an infant and cutting a cake like it's NBD. I'd have trouble doing one of those things with total confidence.

Dad will very likely end me if he finds out this picture is on the internet, but seriously people: check out that swagger. Dude is holding an infant and cutting a cake like it’s NBD. I’d have trouble doing one of those things with total confidence.

A lot of people have asked me how it feels to have my dad not like my blog. Those same lot of people are always shocked to hear me say that I think it’s HILARIOUS. He’s such a grump over the most random issues (see: cake-making, also the clothing choices of complete strangers and when people lose on Wheel of Fortune) that it starts to get very amusing after a while. He’s also my dad, the guy who– no questions asked– came over to my apartment a few years ago when I was living alone in order to kill a giant waterbug for me– which I originally claimed was a bat, it was that large– because I was too scared and squeamish to do so myself. He’s the guy who drove over to my apartment last week to pick up my boyfriend and me after our apartment became uninhabitable for a few days (remember that awful varnish smell I mentioned?), and then left us with to-go breakfast sandwiches when it was time for us to head home. He’s the guy who happily secured tickets for five brown people who inexplicably wanted to see Tom Jones in concert in Atlantic City in the mid-1990s, and I am still weirdly proud that it was the first live show I’d ever attended. So, despite the fact that you may very well never read this, I thank you Papa K, for making life funnier, more stressful/less stressful, and safer from disgusting insects/life’s other random villains.

Still, like I said, the man does not normally enjoy cake. BUT! There is an exception, friends, and it is an exception so simple and yet so profound, that even I in my all-powerful wisdom (LOL) could never have guessed it: carrot cake. Regular old carrot cake. Well. Not so regular, and not old at all, but it is more classic than the one I’ve made before. Let’s do this.

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Very lightly adapted from The Betty Crocker Cookbook

Carrot cake (makes one 9-inch round two layer cake)

For the cake

1 cup of brown sugar

1 stick of butter, browned (melt until butter darkens, brown bits begin to form in the butter and it takes on a nutty smell)

1/4 cup of vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of salt–unless butter is salted, then omit

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup of raisins

1 cup of pineapple puree, or one cup of pineapple chunks in juice

4 cups of shredded carrots (about 4-5 medium)

For the frosting

8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons of butter, softened

2 teaspoons of milk

1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

To start, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Generously butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat together butter, oil and sugar on medium speed until fully blended. Add in eggs, one at a time, until completely mixed. In a separate smaller bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, salt (if using), baking powder and baking soda, then add in vanilla.

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Gradually add flour mixture to wet mixture, with mixer on low to medium speed, until batter is fully mixed. Fold in raisins first, then pineapple, then carrots, until evenly distributed throughout batter.

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Divide batter between pans and bake for 30 to 35 mins, until a cake tester inserted into the middle of cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto cooling rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

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To make frosting, beat cream cheese and butter together with a mixer on high speed until blended. Add in milk, a little at a time, then gradually beat in sugar and vanilla until mixed. Note that this recipe will produce a cream cheese frosting that is on the tangier side, because no one in my family likes it to be terribly sweet. If you prefer yours on the sweeter side, add in about 1-2 more cups, a little at a time, tasting as you go until you reach your preferred level of sugar shock. Frost the top of one cake round, then top with second cake round and frost. Decorate how you wish and serve.

Sort of an inside joke-y cake topping, but I went for a vaguely Indian color scheme. Also was pressed for time :(

Sort of an inside joke-y cake topping, but I went for a vaguely Indian color scheme. Also was pressed for time 😦

Thoughts? I’m weirdly surprised at how well this went over with everyone. My dad being my dad, he did question why I’d spend the time baking something that seemed complicated to him from scratch…until he tasted it. In fact, everyone was really happy with the cake, from the tangy frosting to the rich, not-too-sweet actual cake. I was pretty damned shocked to hear that my parents, who aren’t really big sugar fiends (yes, I know, I also suspect I was adopted) polished off the rest of this cake a couple of days after dad’s birthday. You never cease to surprise me, Pops.

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