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


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?

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

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


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. 

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!




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.