Categories
Classic Favorites Easy Baking No-Bake Recipes

That Dip in Your Mood Probably Means It’s Time For Some Easy Pumpkin Dip To Pair With Your Salty Tears

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You guys, this comic right here is my whole life right now. It’s been circling the interwebs for a few years now, but I’m really feeling it this week. I could elaborate on the latest sads, but I’d rather just direct you to that beautiful, powerful, perfect comic. Even if you don’t come back here– though, um, please come back, we have sweets– please read that lovely piece of work.

Today’s post is going to be short, because maaaaaaaaan do I have a lot to think about thanks to good old Bill Watterson, and also because this is such. an easy. recipe. I actually whipped it up this morning while waiting for my tortillas to warm up (breakfast tacos FTW!). Let’s say you’ve got a whole lot of pumpkin laying around and you don’t feel like going the pie route, or you just don’t have the time to melt chocolate for pumpkin cups, or you just… really like dips. All good man, I love everything (except Stamos and mint in my desserts). Oh, or you’re having a Halloween party and need to feed a crowd, because you’re a cool person who has parties and hey, I’m delightful at parties. I bring pumpkin dip!

Pumpkin Dip (makes a big old bowl)

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1/2 cup of ricotta cheese

1/2 mascarpone cheese

1/4 cup plus two tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mini chocolate chips, for garnish

Cocoa powder, for garnish

Okay, ready? In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or a wooden spoon, mix together pumpkin puree, cinnamon and brown sugar until combined. Add in cheeses and blend until fully incorporated, then whisk in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract until you’ve got your dip. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and dust with cocoa powder, if desired, then chill until ready to serve.

Wait… that’s it?

Yeah dudes! Easiest dessert ever! In terms of stuff to dip into it, fingers are a good option, as long as they are yours or those of someone you trust and are definitely attached to working hands…though Halloween is approaching, and who am I, really, to judge you and your parties, cool people of the web? I actually threw some leftover pie dough into the waffle iron on a whim and ended up enjoying these as mini pumpkin pie bites, but pita chips, cookies or fancy crackers would be yummy, too.

I know, I know... these are regular chocolate chips, but *someone* ate all the minis in the pantry so I had to make do. I know, I know… these are regular chocolate chips, but *someone* ate all the minis in the pantry so I had to make do.

This is so easy, so fast, so yummy, and perfectly party-appropriate. I’ll prove it at your next shindig, which I’m totally invited to, right?

Categories
Chocolate Cheer Classic Favorites Easy Baking Holiday desserts No-Bake Recipes

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

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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!

 

 

 

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

Sharp Cheddar/My Ice Cream’s Better

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

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

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

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

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

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar

3/4 cup of heavy cream

3/4 cup of half and half

4 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Salt, to taste

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Categories
Boozy Desserts Easy Baking Fancy Pantsy No-Bake Recipes Puddings

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

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. 

 

Categories
Fancy Pantsy Grown Up People Desserts Ice Cream No-Bake Recipes Strange and Yummy Stuff Your Parents Would Like

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

* 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.