Categories
Cakes Holiday desserts Muffins

It’s Thanksgiving, So We’re Talking About Stuffing [One Dessert Into Another]

Guess what I did on Monday! I went to see Chris Cornell perform at Carnegie Hall! Guess how terrible my seats were! THIS terrible (my arms are stretched WAY out)!

photo(4)
photo(4)

And yet, the show was pretty perfect. I’m happy I decided to go instead of scamming someone else into buying my nosebleed, second-to-last row seats. That man has got a VOICE, and that voice has got some power. He’s also got some serious Soundgarden fans: on the long elevator ride up to our seats, my show companion observed several long-haired devotees packed into our car and stage-whispered “take me to 1994!” Yes, I did lose it. And no, I obviously did not make friends at this show. Still, in the spirit of a holiday that’s supposed to be about being happy and grateful, I thought I’d start with a night that actually made me feel those things. Especially since I’ve been such a lame downer lately. Let me make that up to you with more sweets, dear people.

As you guys probably know by now, I like stuffing awesome things into other awesome things to create super desserts. I mean, why have one tasty, amazing and butter-filled concoction when you can have two? And why have them separately when you can just smush them together? Aren’t you always so bummed when you only have room on your plate for a few desserts, so you have to start piling cookies on top of pie slices on top of puddings? I know you all do that too, so don’t even play.

Enter the Pumpkin Pie Coffee Cake. Yes, kids, it’s for real and it’s fabulous. It’s also not healthy at all, so if you’re looking for something pumpkin-y that’s low-sugar and low-fat (Mom and Dad), feast your eyes on my previous post on doughnuts. For the rest of us champions, there exists this glorious, fat-laden monstrosity that deserves a spot on your Thanksgiving treat table. It also just deserves a spot in any other void in your life. What I’m saying is that this cake will solve all your problems. Trust me, I’m a Reverend.*

I turned these into muffins because I’m an evil human being intent on giving these away to unsuspecting friends and family, and muffins make this so much easier. If you would rather make this as a cake, you can use a 10″ spring form pan for easy removal.

photo(3)
photo(3)

Pumpkin Pie Coffee Cake Muffins (makes 18 muffins)

For the coffee cake

2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour

3/4 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3/4 cup of butter, cold and cut into cubes

1 egg

3/4 cup of sour cream

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the filling

8 ounces of cream cheese or neufchatel cheese

2 cups of canned pumpkin (again, NOT pumpkin pie filling, that ain’t right)

1/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves

Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Let’s start with the coffee cake portion of this death trap. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Throw in your cubed butter and start mixing with clean fingers until it’s formed into little lumpy balls. This might take you a while, and it might feel a little like that pottery scene from Ghost. Don’t go there, though. Instead, set aside 3/4 cup of this mixture for the topping.

photo
photo

In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, egg and vanilla, then stir into your flour mixture to create a loose dough (don’t overmix). For muffins, mold these into the bottoms and 1 inch up the sides of your tins. It might take a while because the dough gets sticky, so pace yourself.

Then, in a medium-sized bowl using a hand mixer, mix together your cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt until smooth. Pour the mixture evenly into your muffin cups, over the coffee cake dough.

photo(1)
photo(1)

Sprinkle the crumb topping you’d reserved over each cup, making sure to evenly cover them as best you can. Then send the pans into the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, rotating pans halfway through for even baking, until the sides are lightly browned.

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Mine came out a little more than lightly browned, because I didn’t check on them at 55 minutes. Don’t be like me. These were still pretty amazing, though, based on all of the “taste-testing” I did. I also gifted one to my coworker and friend, Afshan, and stood behind her going “bite into it! Bite into it” while she picked it up (I realize how creepy that is now, but did not at the time. My bad, friend). She gave it a thumbs-up too, even though I am a creeper.

Anyway, since it’s Thanksgiving and one of the only times of the year I grow a soul, I’d like to just take a minute to let you people know how grateful I am that you actually read this thing. It’s funny and touching to hear someone say “I read about it on your blog,” because I’m still sometimes convinced that I’m the only person who sees it. So thanks for making this even more fun than I thought it would be when I started causing trouble in the blogosphere earlier this year. Have a Happy Thanksgiving. We’ll be back to our regular soulless, untouchy, unfeely programming shortly.

*Obviously I am joking yet again. Just because I’m a minister doesn’t make anything I say gospel (har har). Except that this dessert is amazing. That’s for real.

Categories
Cakes Holiday desserts Muffins

It’s Thanksgiving, So We’re Talking About Stuffing [One Dessert Into Another]

Guess what I did on Monday! I went to see Chris Cornell perform at Carnegie Hall! Guess how terrible my seats were! THIS terrible (my arms are stretched WAY out)!

The little human-shaped blob standing on the classy-looking rug is Chris Cornell. Just believe me.

And yet, the show was pretty perfect. I’m happy I decided to go instead of scamming someone else into buying my nosebleed, second-to-last row seats. That man has got a VOICE, and that voice has got some power. He’s also got some serious Soundgarden fans: on the long elevator ride up to our seats, my show companion observed several long-haired devotees packed into our car and stage-whispered “take me to 1994!” Yes, I did lose it. And no, I obviously did not make friends at this show. Still, in the spirit of a holiday that’s supposed to be about being happy and grateful, I thought I’d start with a night that actually made me feel those things. Especially since I’ve been such a lame downer lately. Let me make that up to you with more sweets, dear people.

As you guys probably know by now, I like stuffing awesome things into other awesome things to create super desserts. I mean, why have one tasty, amazing and butter-filled concoction when you can have two? And why have them separately when you can just smush them together? Aren’t you always so bummed when you only have room on your plate for a few desserts, so you have to start piling cookies on top of pie slices on top of puddings? I know you all do that too, so don’t even play.

Enter the Pumpkin Pie Coffee Cake. Yes, kids, it’s for real and it’s fabulous. It’s also not healthy at all, so if you’re looking for something pumpkin-y that’s low-sugar and low-fat (Mom and Dad), feast your eyes on my previous post on doughnuts. For the rest of us champions, there exists this glorious, fat-laden monstrosity that deserves a spot on your Thanksgiving treat table. It also just deserves a spot in any other void in your life. What I’m saying is that this cake will solve all your problems. Trust me, I’m a Reverend.*

I turned these into muffins because I’m an evil human being intent on giving these away to unsuspecting friends and family, and muffins make this so much easier. If you would rather make this as a cake, you can use a 10″ spring form pan for easy removal.

This is to show you what a hot mess I am in the kitchen, and what a beast I am during Thanksgiving. It got worse, I just thought I'd spare you.

Pumpkin Pie Coffee Cake Muffins (makes 18 muffins)

For the coffee cake

2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour

3/4 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

3/4 cup of butter, cold and cut into cubes

1 egg

3/4 cup of sour cream

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the filling

8 ounces of cream cheese or neufchatel cheese

2 cups of canned pumpkin (again, NOT pumpkin pie filling, that ain’t right)

1/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves

Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Let’s start with the coffee cake portion of this death trap. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Throw in your cubed butter and start mixing with clean fingers until it’s formed into little lumpy balls. This might take you a while, and it might feel a little like that pottery scene from Ghost. Don’t go there, though. Instead, set aside 3/4 cup of this mixture for the topping.

In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, egg and vanilla, then stir into your flour mixture to create a loose dough (don’t overmix). For muffins, mold these into the bottoms and 1 inch up the sides of your tins. It might take a while because the dough gets sticky, so pace yourself.

Then, in a medium-sized bowl using a hand mixer, mix together your cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, spices and salt until smooth. Pour the mixture evenly into your muffin cups, over the coffee cake dough.

Sprinkle the crumb topping you’d reserved over each cup, making sure to evenly cover them as best you can. Then send the pans into the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, rotating pans halfway through for even baking, until the sides are lightly browned.

Mine came out a little more than lightly browned, because I didn’t check on them at 55 minutes. Don’t be like me. These were still pretty amazing, though, based on all of the “taste-testing” I did. I also gifted one to my coworker and friend, Afshan, and stood behind her going “bite into it! Bite into it” while she picked it up (I realize how creepy that is now, but did not at the time. My bad, friend). She gave it a thumbs-up too, even though I am a creeper.

Anyway, since it’s Thanksgiving and one of the only times of the year I grow a soul, I’d like to just take a minute to let you people know how grateful I am that you actually read this thing. It’s funny and touching to hear someone say “I read about it on your blog,” because I’m still sometimes convinced that I’m the only person who sees it. So thanks for making this even more fun than I thought it would be when I started causing trouble in the blogosphere earlier this year. Have a Happy Thanksgiving. We’ll be back to our regular soulless, untouchy, unfeely programming shortly.

*Obviously I am joking yet again. Just because I’m a minister doesn’t make anything I say gospel (har har). Except that this dessert is amazing. That’s for real.

Categories
Doughnuts Holiday desserts Sort of Healthy Stuff Your Parents Would Like

Thanksgiving Is Upon Us. You Should Definitely Hide From Me.

Confession time! Last year, I turned into a Thanksgiving psychopath. Maybe that’s a little strong. Last year, I turned into a Thanksgiving lunatic. Ok, so there’s no real way to make that sound pretty. It was bad. What do I mean? Well, I promise I did not become a horrible person. How could I when Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday?  But I did kind of go overboard with the cooking and baking and cleaning and crying. I don’t remember why I cried, but I bet it had something to do with almost driving a Ginsu knife straight through my hand while attempting to whip up sweet potato wedges, turkey samosas, pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin bread pudding simultaneously. I was making all of these things for a post-Thanksgiving party I was hosting for my dearest friends. And it was a potluck dinner. See? Overboard.

Miraculously, all of those dishes turned out pretty well. I’m still damn proud of that cheesecake, and the bread pudding will be seen on this blog very soon, because it ruled. And exhausted as I was, I was also ridiculously happy to be so busy creating new things. One of the reasons I love Thanksgiving so much is the fact that I get to bake like a crazy person and no one can judge me. Someone‘s going to eat it. I also love Thanksgiving because it’s not Christmas. (I’ll explain that some other time. Maybe at Christmas.)

This time around, I kind of feel like the holiday sneaked up on me. I’m pretty sure I was prepping in early October last year, so now I’m feeling a little bit like a slacker. Admittedly, I’ve been distracted and busy. My trip to San Diego was a much-needed vacation where I got to spend some quality time with my bestie and eat my way through a beautiful city (I had an antelope burger! I’ll never eat it again!). I’ve also been…you know…dealing with some stuff or whatever, so I guess I kind of forgot that the best day ever was approaching. Basically, that now means one thing: it’s crunch time. Welcome to my Heaven, and possibly your Hell. My Heaven/your Hell is covered in pumpkin, and involves a stellar soundtrack and me pouncing on anyone who dares disturb my process. Now, I’m being really serious: if you hate pumpkin, you and I might need to be on a break. That’s because a. there are going to be, like, three consecutive posts that feature pumpkin on this blog and b. you buggin’ if you hatin’ on pumpkin. Ready? Ok!

Me, becoming one with the city of San Diego. Actually I'm just a fool.

First up: pumpkin doughnuts! Melinda was kind enough to buy me a doughnut pan while I was visiting, so I vowed to make these babies as soon as I returned. I know the idea of healthy doughnuts freaks you out a tad. It kind of throws me off, too. But ever since I got crazy and threw olive oil into my chocolate chip cookies, I’ve been a believer. It’s fancy and it’s not that bad for you. Promise. I also played around with the recipe a bit and made my own glaze:

Pumpkin Doughnuts with Maple Glaze (makes 10 doughnuts)

For the doughnuts

1 3/4 cups of whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat flour (I used regular whole wheat)

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of turbinado sugar (If you don’t have this on hand, you can just replace with brown sugar)

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix or this will become nasty sweet)

1/2 cup of skim milk

For the glaze

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons of milk

More confectioners’ sugar for dusting, if you’re feelin’ it

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and your spices. In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, pumpkin, milk and vanilla. Slowly fold dry mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. It will still be a little lumpy.Yes, I used Hipster App for iPhone again because I am lame and forgot to charge my pretty camera.

Grease a doughnut pan and pour the batter evenly into each pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into a doughnut comes out clean.

Can someone lend me a clue as to how to properly mold the TOP of the doughnut? These came out looking a little like sliced bagels 😦

In the meantime, make your maple glaze. Whisk together all three ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until glaze-y and syrup-y. Yep, you’re done. When the doughnuts are cool enough to touch, drench each one in the glaze until completely soaked and covered.

So…I liked these. The thing that troubles me is that my parents would love these. What do I mean? I mean that these are low-sugar whole wheat doughnuts, and they taste that way. I also mean that I am kind of programmed to hate most of the things my parents absolutely love, because they love things like Raisin Bran and Michael Bolton. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to have made them and will probably make them again…for my parents.

Keep a look out for at least one more pumpkin post this week. Yup, it’s like that. I did warn you.

Categories
Desserts with Fruit Easy Baking Holiday desserts No-Bake Recipes Sort of Healthy

Sometimes I Try To Keep The Elders Happy (At Least When It Comes To Baking Stuff)

I had to add the parenthetical caveat, if only because I fear one of the aforementioned elders will somehow assume there’s a massive Indian wedding on the horizon. Anyway, my parents specifically (and probably a lot of the other older and wiser ladies and gents in the clan) are trying to cut down on their sugar intake. I don’t really understand this, since I operate on sugar and start to short-circuit whenever there’s a chocolate shortage in my home. I guess it’s health related since according to The Whole Entire World and this one Spongebob Squarepants episode I saw, sugar turns to bubbling fat and causes hella problems, yo.

Ok, ok, I know all this already. And I have been trying to get smart recipe-wise, at least for the summer. How am I supposed to get my regular dosage of sweetness and a. not totally sabotage myself and those around me and b. keep my oven time to a minimum?

Enter Eating Well, a surprisingly awesome, pretty healthy cooking magazine/site that bestowed upon me the gift of the blueberry tart with walnut crust. (Actually, on a side note, I’m really not sure if it’s supposed to be Blueberry Tart with Walnut Crust. I mean, it’s not a dude or lady, but it is the name of a recipe. I’m kind of confused here…can someone help me out? As a former English major and lifelong nerd, I’m perplexed.) This is a perfectly light, delicious, summer-y treat that would be perfect as an Independence Day dessert for those of us who maybe don’t want to be completely nauseous when we decide that a few laps around the block after a slice plus a goblet full of pinot grigio is a good idea (for the record, my dad served me the wine).

A quick note: this does involve a leeeetle beet of oven usage. Not my favorite thing to do in this oppressive stank, but this crust was well worth it. In fact, it may just become my go-to crust for pretty much any pie I decide to whip up.

Blueberry Tart with Walnut Crust

The Crust:

1 cup of whole-wheat graham cracker crumbs (I used Annie’s Organic Bunny Grahams)

1/4 cup of walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 egg white

1 tablespoon of melted butter or coconut oil (I decided to add my own spin/health profile because all of a sudden I’m feeling generous and knowledgeable)

1 tablespoon of canola oil

Pinch of salt

The Filling:

8 ounces of Neufchatel (reduced-fat) cream cheese

1/4 cup of reduced-fat sour cream

1/4 cup of maple syrup

2 cups of fresh blueberries (a little more than a pint)

You know what I just found out? Those Bunny Grahams are pretty delicious. It's a good time to be a five year-old.

Ok, so, to start, let’s prep our crust. Preheat the oven to 325°F. I really enjoyed this process, because it involved a lot of crushing and crumbling and I was very angry. I don’t remember why, but I do remember watching one of the final episodes of Friday Night Lights while making this, and I’m really sad that it’s ending. Can’t it just be on forever, like Jeopardy! or the news? Anyway, to crush your crumbs, gather the grahams into a large resealable plastic bag and go at them with a rolling pin. It’s fun, I promise. When you’ve got a cup’s worth, throw them into a food processor with your walnuts. I’m not that fancy so I only have a blender with a “pulse” button, which worked out just perfectly for me. Pulse until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whip up your egg white until it’s nice and frothy. Mix in the oils/melted butter, salt and cracker/walnut mixture until the mixture’s moist. Carefully press this mixture into the bottom of a removable-bottom 9-inch tart pan. I’m going to be honest with you folks, because I like you lots: I don’t have one of these pans, likely because, as I’ve told you, I am not fancy. I have a regular round cake pan and I also have parents who fortunately do not care at all about presentation. So, that’s what I used.

The yummy and-- shockingly-- pretty healthful crust

When it’s been evenly pressed into whatever pan you choose, send it into the oven until the sides are lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

While that’s happening, you can prep the incredibly easy and delicious filling. In a medium-sized bowl, with an electric hand mixer on low speed, beat the cream cheese, sour cream and maple syrup together. When it’s fully combined you’ll want to taste it. I am here to tell you to go with that urge.

Wait until the crust has been completely cooled. This is yet another instance where a quick blast in the freezer would do some good. Gently pour the filling into the pan and spread it evenly. Press blueberries into the filling, arranging them so that the top of the tart is swimming in berries. Refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to a day, before serving.

omgsogooddelicioso

So, have I convinced you yet that you need this tart in your life? No? Well, let me take this further. Even my dad, who does not like this blog and for some reason does not like it when I bake (I chalk it up to jealousy. Old man’s a hater!), was ridiculously impressed by how light and yummy it was. He could not believe the crust was homemade, and both of my parents were thrilled that it wasn’t cloyingly sweet. Also, everyone went for seconds. Also also, I stole the rest of it and brought it back to my apartment with me. Remember how I said I like to give most of my desserts away? No one was getting near this one.

And because I am so pleased with myself, and am feeling incredibly generous and, uh, free, I guess, I’ll leave you all with a little present. Happy Fourth of July peoples!

Kyle Chandler of Friday Night Lights. You're welcome, America.
Categories
Desserts with Fruit Holiday desserts

I Got Happy. Then I Made a Bunny

..cake. I made a bunny cake.

Before I introduce my next creation, I feel I must clear up an issue that’s been causing quite a bit of confusion. Because I’ve lived with the name Shibow for so long, I’ve come to assume that pretty much everyone knows how to pronounce it. Wrongsauce. Here’s how it goes: “Shib” rhymes with “rib.” “Ow” rhymes with “cow.” Ribcow. Shibow. All set? Schweet!

So, the storm’s passed. Literally, it looks like the rain’s decided to calm its behind down and bounce for a bit. Also, things have been looking up for Sad Shibow. Friday, I stalked, met and photographed Academy Award-winner and lead singer of The Swell Season and my hero and lead actor in Once, my favorite movie and lead singer of my favorite band Glen Hansard. If you can’t tell, I sort of adore him. You can’t see the picture I took because I am in it and I have a case of the crazy eyes. I’m sorry Glen. Really I am. I’m not going to explain that apology in this post, but just know that it is necessary.

Glen Hansard. Swoon.

Anyway, that experience gave me the serious boost I needed in order to get baking for Easter Sunday. I’d been looking for a fun, kid-friendly dessert that wouldn’t be terribly difficult to pull off. I failed and decided on this cake instead. Yes, it was a PAIN to bake and construct. No, I am not an artist. These two facts together basically equaled, in my case, the fattest bunny ever. Seriously, I am pretty sure this thing was knocked up with cupcakes. That’s cool to say, right?

So, here’s the recipe, from Delish.com. If I were you, I’d pay little mind to the reviews. Hey, Internet Mom, mayyyyybe it’s not the cake’s fault that your son didn’t want to eat a bunny. And maaayyyybe it’s not the cake’s fault that your son’s allergic to coconut. I mean, that sucks, but really, you’re going to blame Good Housekeeping, lady?

As usual, I am stubborn and tweaked the recipe to my liking. Here’s my version (really only the frosting is different):

Cake

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 cup of cream of coconut

8 oz of crushed pineapple, in juice

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup of white sugar

1/2 cup of butter

3 large eggs

(Coconut)-Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz of cream cheese or neufchatel cheese

1/4 cup of butter

1 cup of confectioners’ sugar

touch of lemon juice, optional

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or coconut extract (depending on how overt you want the flavor to be)

1/2 cup of sweetened coconut flakes

jelly beans for decorating

Preheat your oven to 350°F, and line a 9×13 inch pan with enough parchment paper to be able to lift the cake out of the pan once baked. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix together cream of coconut, pineapple chunks and vanilla. In a third large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fully blended and fluffy. Incorporate eggs into the butter mixture, one at a time, and beat until completely mixed.

Alternate between beating the flour mixture into the butter/sugar/eggs and beating the pineapple/coconut mixture in, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. By the way, this is when I knocked over my just-purchased bottle of vanilla extract and wept silently into the mixture. Just kidding. I cried in the sink.

Pour the batter into your pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. I’m kind of getting tired of using that phrase over and over again. It’s a necessary step, but it needs more pizazz, no? Anyway, once it’s baked, let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before moving it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While that’s happening, get started on the frosting. Cream together the cheese and butter until fluffy. Add in the vanilla, then the sugar a bit at a time until fully blended. Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice if you prefer a tangier frosting. Now, this isn’t technically a coconutty frosting, hence the parentheses above. After the bunny is cut and frosting, coconut is pressed into the frosting to create “fur.” As you will see, my overweight bunny needed a lot of coconut to cover him.

So here’s where I got “creative.” Good Housekeeping kindly offered this diagram as a guide for bunny cutting. There is definitely a better way to phrase that. Anyway, I printed out the diagram, cut out the bunny outline (body and ears separately), covered the cake in foil,  and carefully cut around the outline to create what I prayed would be an acceptable-looking animal. I came away with this, which really isn’t terrible:

Naked bunny!

For some reason, once I frosted it, the bunny gained a ton or so. To frost, use a flat, rubber spatula or wooden spoon to spread evenly. Press coconut flakes into the frosting to create a furry little monster. Use jelly beans to make eyes and a button nose, and use anything but licorice to make whiskers. Licorice is gross.

Fat bunny!

So, would I make it again? Probably. This cake was delicious, especially with the cream cheese frosting. Still, I don’t think I’d try to get crazy with the animal shapes, if only because, um, see above.