Happy Friday the 13th, ya’ll! Anyone else pretending this is your lucky day to avoid it being your totally unlucky day? Um… no? Ok. Moving on then.
YOU GUYS I AM MASSIVELY EXCITED.
Why? You’re asking me why? YOU KNOW WHY! (Jimmy’s been hiding from me lately. He definitely knows why.)
So, because I am nuts and also because Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, I am insanely busy. Weirdly, for once, I am busy. It’s like all the cool/weird/random things decided to just wait until the end if the year to happen, and I am in the eye of the damned storm. It’s mostly event-related and cookie-related, and I am not complaining because the more time I spend at events and enveloped inappropriately in cookies, the less time I spend crying and whining. Woot!
So, with that said, while I am off recipe-testing sweets for this Thanksgiving– and yes, I will absolutely update you all with new sweets next week– I am leaving you with some of my favorite Turkey day recipes from years past. Enjoy, and I will see you next week, likely full of tears and butter! ❤
Ok, so, full disclosure: this is a post in which I recommend products to you. I get a teeny commission if you decide to buy anything from any of the links provided, but keep two things in mind: I love you guys and I ain’t no sellout (I also ain’t no snitch, but I said two things so…). There is nothing on the below list that I haven’t purchased/wouldn’t purchase if I weren’t so darned broke and living in a tiny apartment. Most of the reason I’m doing this is I keep getting all of these crazy promotional emails for nutty sales that I want to share with ya’ll. Especially with the holidays coming up, I think now might be a good time to share some of my favorite things with you guys. Read on, friends!
First off, Sur La Table is having a BOSS Thanksgiving flash sale (link below), for those of you celebrating the holiday. If you’re brave and awesome and brave, there is a Waring Pro deep-fryer that is on super discount at almost 50% off, today only. Get on it, and then please save me a hunk of fried meat. Will love you eternally.
Also at Sur La Table are these gorgeous Le Creuset mixing bowls, which I am inappropriately in love with and have just purchased myself because they’re on sale. My favorite thing about these bowls are the handles and spout, because you cannot know how disgustingly clumsy I am. I will take all of the help you will give, and then ask for more. There is also this fabulous autumnal-colored cast-iron dutch oven, also on super sale, that will absolutely last you forever.
Now, for all of your cookbook needs, and specifically all of your cupcake-related cookbook needs, I’d like to present Robicelli’s: A Love Story, a book that combines saucy language with glorious sweet creations. This book is my best friend. No, but really though, we tell each other everything, me and this book. We’re, like, inseparable, me and this book. Guys I know, it’s weird. But the cookbook just gets me, you know?
Created by the married couple who owns Robicelli’s Bakery in Brooklyn, this book will soon be my one real connection to one of my favorite sweet spots. That’s correct, friends, Robicelli’s is closing, and I am handling the news like the champ I am.
Yup, total champ. Many of you know Robicelli’s because of the monster success of Nutellasagna, a crazy dessert that deserves every bit of hype it has received, and then some. Get over to the store and try some before it closes at the end of the year, or order a hunk of the stuff, plus pretty much everything else, online. If you do swing by the store, be on the lookout for me, creepily weeping just outside, by the window.
And lastly, there is a certain popular film franchise that has been discussed quite a bit around these parts recently…likely because the force is being awakened in less than a month and some of us have been told to control ourselves despite the fact that we physically just cannot. If you’re looking for holiday presents for the Star Wars nerd baker in your life (there are more of us than you’d like to believe, sorry to tell you) look no further.
R2-D2 COMES APART TO BECOME MEASURING CUPS. ❤ ❤ ❤ !!!
So, that’s that for now. I’ll pop in from time to time with more recommendations, especially since we’re close to the holidays and I am hella ridiculous with finding deals. If you’ve got a specific question or just wanna be all “what’s up, Sad Shibow, let’s be homies,” comment below!
The quoted line in today’s title is probably the truest statement that has ever been spoken about me. If I ever become super famous (LOLOLOL) and decide to punish the world with my memoirs, that will be the title. Unless I’m like 100 by then, in which case it will probably not make sense. Unless I look amazing for 100, which is entirely possible since I’ve seen Interstellar and could totally become an astronaut that stays crazy young by living in a bookcase (to answer your question, indeed I did fall asleep several times during this film).
This has been a trying time for ol’ Shibow. I did finally manage to stop my big brown baby whining and go on an actual vacation, to a couple of cities in Colorado and to Austin, Texas. Both destinations were as hot as I imagine Hell will be (notice I say will since I’m banking on it as a final destination), which I guess led me to believe that I would be able to sweat out my depression in the sauna that is a good chunk of this country. This combined with eating my feelings in breakfast tacos and barbecue seemed like a good plan for the week I was there, and proved successful until my extremely tanned feet landed back on New York soil asphalt. And then I just wanted to do an about-face and hop on another plane away from my troubles. Are there any travel-related companies that need an anxious Indian woman with decent writing skills and a tendency to cry at the drop of a hat for…anything? I also make a pretty mean cheesecake. Eh? EASY SELL if you ask me!
Yeah… let’s just talk more about that cheesecake. The grammarian in me was unsure of whether this should be called a “goat cheesecake,” (makes one think of a goat-flavored dessert, or a goat-shaped one, no?) a “goat cheese cheesecake” (redundant) or a “goat cheese cake” (looks very weird, but…whatevs). I decided to go with the latter because, as I said, WHATEVS. It’s a cheesecake made with goat cheese, homies.
Preheat your oven to 350ºF, and butter/sugar a 9-inch springform pan. In a large bowl, beat sugar, goat cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium until the mixture is smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in egg yolks, two at a time, scraping the bowl down with a rubber spatula frequently. With mixer on low speed, add in flour just until blended.
In a separate, clean medium-sized bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Note that everything you are using must be absolutely clean and dry in order for egg whites to whip properly, as they’re very temperamental (you also need to make sure the room you’re working in never gets too hot).
Gently fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture just until blended, then fold the rest of the whites in. Do not overmix.
Pour batter into pan and tap pan against counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake until the middle jiggles a bit but the sides of the cake are set. Let cool completely in pan.
Once cooled, run a knife around the sides of the pan and release cake from springform pan. Decorate with berries as you wish.
Full disclosure: this cake was made for Mother’s Day, a month ago (my bad…), because mama loves cheesecake but also loves being healthy, and while I wouldn’t exactly call this vitamin cake, it’s considerably lighter than the regular stuff.
So, does “considerably lighter” mean “considerably grosser?” Absolutely NOT. I honestly thought I would miss the crust, but then I realized what a pain in the ass it can be to make cheesecake crusts sometimes. Also, no one who ate this cake even noticed it was crustless. It had the creamy, tangy taste of regular cheesecake but wasn’t nearly as heavy, meaning everyone felt comfortable going for second (um, third in some cases) slices. Take it from your sad-eyed Aunty Shibow, folks: this is the perfect summer cheesecake.
I realize this is a champagne problem, but I am so damn bored with life. The perpetually gray skies, the bitter cold, the same too-loud conductor on the same too-loud F train, the same mind-numbingly awful sounds of Kenny G coming from some mysterious black hole in my office that, try as I might, I cannot seem to find or drown out with the soothing sounds of ANYTHING ELSE. I just can’t anymore.
I keep telling myself that I’m going to try to do something different and out of character every day. Some of you may remember “I Dare You Shibow,” a [very insane] blog post on a long-gone but beloved online magazine that a friend of mine ran, in which I basically dared people to dare me to do things that I’d eventually completely punk out on. I think the one dare I actually accepted required me to drink tequila nonstop for an entire day. That little experiment found me clumsily exiting my apartment, wandering into a massive dollar store, and then suddenly finding myself smack in the middle of in said dollar store’s weirdly GIGANTIC porn section. After that day, I just pretty much straightened up, got a job, and never drank tequila again.*
*Almost all of this sentence has been exaggerated. Surprisingly, exactly none of the sentence about the dollar store has been embellished at all.
So I guess that was my long-winded way of telling you all to please not dare me to do anything creepy or crazy or dangerous or alcohol-related (mostly because I’ll probably just accept a booze-related challenge). Instead, I’d love some suggestions on how to not feel so…blah.
I’m sure the never-ending winter is a huge contributor to my blues, which is why I’ve started trying to psych myself out with spring-like desserts. Enter the trifle: an easy, delicious confection that, if done correctly, can look like the most delicious cross-section of the earth’s core that could possible exist. Basically, it’s a dessert that consists of even layers of every dessert thing you love so much. This time around, I took it easy and went with a simple lemon curd trifle, but just. you. wait. for what I’m planning.
Lemon Curd & Coconut Trifle (makes one pint)
For the lemon curd layer
1/3 cup + two tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg, beaten
For the whipped cream layer
1/2 cup of heavy cream
3 tablespoons of sugar, more if you like your whipped cream sweeter
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Plus, 1/4 cup of toasted coconut (spread shredded coconut in a thin layer on a baking sheet; toast in a 350ºF oven for five minutes, stirring from time to time, until lightly browned)
Let’s start with the curd. In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir in your butter and egg, and place over medium heat. Stir the mixture frequently until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Immediately pour curd into an airtight container and refrigerate until cool.
For the whipped cream, pour heavy cream and sugar into a clean bowl. With mixer on high, beat cream until peaks begin to form. Add vanilla and whip until completely mixed in. Refrigerate until it’s time to build this thing.
And now…to build this thing. Guys, it’s really kind of difficult to master layering curd and cream in a pint jar. Basically, that means that I didn’t even come close to mastering it. The idea is to layer cream on top of curd, starting with your lemon curd at the bottom of the jar. In between each layer, I sprinkled toasted coconut, then topped it all off with a very, very healthy dollop of whipped cream and even more coconut.
So, after about a minute of trying to gracefully dip into this thing with our spoons, my boyfriend and I mutually decided to screw being dainty and mixed this monster right up. The verdict? DUDES, it’s like the best cake filling ever. It’s like the kind of cake filling you ditch the cake part for. SO. WORTH. EVERYTHING.
First off, I’d like to put out a huge thank you/sorry/thank you to everyone who read and understood (or, hey, didn’t quite understand) my previous post. Anxiety is an embarrassing thing to admit in any realm, I think, even though it shouldn’t be, because pretty much everyone has had those momentary fits of panic at one time or another. I just happen to have them at all the time or another. As I explained to my very understanding boyfriend, I operate at a seven (out of a possible eleven. Eleven for no reason. Also for Spinal Tap). Sometimes I go below that, but that’s pretty much my baseline. And I recognize that that’s not the best but… it’s me. So like me, please, tightened jaw, shaky fists, watery eyes and all. Or don’t. It’s cool (ohmygodeighteighteightI’mataneight).
So, anyway, now, let’s move on to something great: Thanksgiving! So, yes, there’s been a lot of garbage this year. In my life. In all of our lives, I’m sure. (If you live a garbage-less life, then, well, you’re probably not having any fun here and should probably go Youtube some Yanni or something. That was pretty much the best diss I could come up with.) There is, though, likely more lovely things to be happy about and grateful for than we realize. I’m grateful to still be writing this blog and still have new people tell me they read it. I mean… I really can’t tell you all how oddly wonderful that is. I think I spend so much time thinking I’m just a nobody posting about what a messy “baker” I am that I forget people sometimes enjoy this stuff. Thanks, you. I’m also grateful for the people who motivate me to keep operating (even if it’s at a seven) daily. You know who you are and you know that I love you.
Now that we’ve gotten that squared away, let’s talk about pumpkin. Ya’ll know I’m on a kick given the month and the season, so there are no surprises there. Also, Thanksgiving this year and the first day of Hanukkah fall on the same day, and since I love eating absolutely everything always, I thought it would be a splendid idea to work with a recipe that combines both holidays, because genius.
Pumpkin Pie Rugelach
adapted from Serious Eats (I swear I’m creative and look elsewhere for recipes, but I love these folks)
For the crust
2 cups of all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
1/4 teaspoon of ginger
1/4 teaspoon of allspice
2 sticks (or 1 cup) of cold butter, cut into 1-inch chunks
8 ounces of cold cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup of pumpkin butter (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
4 tablespoons of chopped walnuts or pecans (I used pecans)*
1 egg, beaten
Cinnamon sugar (1 teaspoon of cinnamon + 1/4 cup of sugar)
*If you’d like to make these nut-free, you can! Chop up roasted pumpkin seeds and use instead :).
Now, you’ll want to keep the butter and cream cheese as cold as possible throughout this process to allow for the flakiest crust possible. Keep that in mind, homies.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and spices and set aside. Now, in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl and using a hand mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese just until smooth. Pour in your dry ingredients and mix just until you start to see curds form and hold together. Take the dough out, divide it in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Now, to assemble these babies. Lightly flour a large, and I mean large, surface. Gently roll out one piece of dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Try not to do this on a surface directly above a working dishwasher, as that sh*t gets hot and will really screw with your dough. Just saying, not like that happened.
Anyway, form a large rectangle (9×13″ if possible), then spread dough with 1/2 cup of pumpkin butter and sprinkle with nuts of your choosing. Roll up from the short end, into a long log.
Cut into 1-inch wide pieces and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat this process with your other half of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
Now, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Brush each piece with egg wash, then liberally sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake until golden and puffy, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in pan, then let cool completely on wire racks.
I should mention that at first my rugelach didn’t come out as flaky as I’d hoped. I actually needed to toast them at 400º for an additional ten minutes to achieve the consistency I was going for. This annoyed me greatly, and I started out basically hating these things.
Then I bit into one. And then I let my boyfriend bite into one. And then I brought some to work.
Mmmm. Yeah. It took some convincing to eat one after I got pissed off and gave up on Thanksgiving (it’s this annual thing I do before I inevitably change my mind and bake nine thousand more things), but then it took convincing to stop eating them, presumably because my boyfriend cares about my health wanted them all to himself. Work people also devoured them, which is kinda really nice. If you’ve got the time and enough cold surfaces on which to make these, go for it.
Whatever you decide, have a lovely Thanksgiving. Thank you for putting up with me for all of this time. ❤