IDGAF Kitchen: Pumpkin Pecan Mexican Wedding Cookies! (vegan!)

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Ok, we all know that I am NOT a good food/baking blogger, so my photos are of baked goods that are THREE days old. But the food still tastes good! Picture above are pumpkin pecan Mexican wedding cookies. My buddy Elysse (who has a new blog called The Vegan Sweet Beat!) came over on Saturday night for pizza, baking, and rom com (we watched Walk of Shame…. I give it a “meh” although A+++ for big giant hair). We used this recipe from Cookie and Kate. Our cookies did have more powdered sugar on them before, but, you know… THREE DAYS. The recipe calls for whole wheat flour, and we used Earth Balance instead of butter or coconut oil. I LOVE ME SOME PUMPKIN BAKED GOODS (but not the PSL or any pumpkin spice drink…), and these cookies were super yummy! They did not end up quite as dry and crumbly as the Mexican wedding cookies I am accustomed to, but Kate mentioned this would be the case when you sub out the real butter. Regardless: YUM. Elysse toasted the pecans, and my kitchen smelled AMAZE. Elysse also suggested we bake a back-up in case the pumpkin pecan cookies turned out weird. Well, actually, the brownies turned out to be weird!!! (We still ate them.) It was the first time I baked or tasted a brownie with black beans in it. I have always been really curious about them, but Elysse thought this recipe was not the best, and the brownies came out SUPER DUPER DENSE. It was almost like eating …. firm chocolate jello, or I guess, fudge. However, they were better the next day, and even better the day after that, etc etc, so I think that having some time to dry out did them some good. Anyway, I have no idea what recipe we used, but Elysse says she has a better recipe, so if I get around to make those, I will link you! Here’s us on Saturday night getting our PB on. I’m looking serious/dubious about putting on the peanut butter the right way, and Elysse is triumphantly zig-zagging through it all with a knife. I have pumpkin puree left over, so, per Elysse’s suggestion, I am going to try making a pumpkin spice smoothie next!

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies v1.0

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On Sunday, I thought it would be funny if Manda came over to watch the Superbowl. I am not a sports fan, and I have no idea what is going on in football, but it seemed like a fun excuse for us to get together and eat a bunch of junk food. A few days ago, I had been craving chocolate chip oatmeal cookies from Trader Joe’s. They are bite-sized, and they are crunchy and delightful. I figured I could just try making them at home, so that’s what happened on Superbowl Sunday. I used this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. Okay, here’s a classic Me Move. The recipe instructs you to make dough balls out of 2 heaping tablespoons, so for my first batch, I plopped on 2 TBS of dough, but didn’t roll it into a ball or anything. For my second batch, I wanted smaller cookies, so  I just scooped out what I’ll call a small “bloop” of dough (as pictured above), and then rolled it around in my hands. I was kind of surprised when the baking time seemed to be kind of longer for the small balls than the big plops. About 8 minutes in, I realized, THAT MY OVEN WAS OFF. Because for my first batch, I had apparently turned off the oven when I meant to turn off the timer. GOOD ONE. So don’t even ask me about baking times, cuz I just winged it at that point. Overall, I think this particular recipe was a bit on the sweet side for me. I don’t know anything about baking, and I’m not sure what would happen to the whole recipe if I took out like 1/4 cup of sugar in there somewhere, but that would be my amateur inclination. Also, they were not light and crunchy like the Trader Joe’s ones, but I knew that going in, since the recipe called these thick and chewy. Otherwise, I had a fun time with these cookies, because I felt like there weren’t a lot of steps or ingredients to wrangle. I still need to remember to always make a half recipe, though, because I’m the only one in the house who really eats what I bake, and now I have like 80 million cookies to deal with!

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IDGAF Easy Pumpkin Muffins

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When you guys left me recipes during my November blog giveaway, one caught my eye in particular because it contained TWO INGREDIENTS. Dear Renee: Thank you!!!! All you need is one box of yellow cake mix and one can of pumpkin. I did tempt fate by adding a few things, like, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves, but you can do whatever the heck you want! Just dump all two of your ingredients into a big bowl and stir it up. Follow the directions on your cake mix for baking. “YOU’RE DONE, SON,” (as Manda would say). The texture is light, fluffy, and smooth, very cake-like. I kind of craved frosting with it, like chocolate, or cream cheese. I have no idea if anybody else liked them. Odds are: low. But whatever. I HAD FUN. p.s. I brought these to Thanksgiving, and I have to admit, I still have problems with proper bake time in my oven. The quoted bake time is NEVER enough, and then I just have to wing it from there! This first batch turned out a bit under-baked and sticky, so, yeah, just avoid that when you make them…..

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My new favorite thing to bake: Gingerbread Men!

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So I discovered something about myself around Christmas: I LOVE BAKING GINGERBREAD MEN. I have baked a lot of ginger snaps in my time, but there was something about smushing out the dough and using the cookie-cutters that I found really satisfying! I used this recipe from Martha Stewart via Java Cupcake. Next time I would try to make the dough even more spicy, like maybe with some grated fresh ginger as well as black pepper. Making big dough balls made me feel like Dr. Sattler going elbow-deep in a pile of dino droppings. (fast forward to 2:15 if you don’t remember this scene!) This made me giggle a lot to myself because I’m five years old. You chill the dough before you roll out, and you also chill the men before you bake them. They don’t spread very much at all, and they come out perfectly shaped! If you roll them out thick at 1/4 inch, you will have chewy cookies. If you roll them out thinner, you will have crispy cookies. I did both and still can’t decide which I prefer….! I didn’t have time before my parents’ Christmas shindig to decorate the cookies with icing, but icing is usually not my favorite to eat anyway. So my little ginger dudes were not as cute or charismatic…. but they were still yummy, which is great, because, I’m also LAZY. I’m already craving them again. I just have to buy more flour!

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Giveaway! Cupcakes! Bake And Destroy’s New Cookbook!

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I have one copy of an awesome new cookbook to giveaway! Are you ready? It’s my buddy Natalie Slater’s Bake And Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans. I’ve seen her on TV as a judge on Cupcake Wars, so I think that means she’s pretty legit. I’m totally not vegan, but I guess I am a curious and somewhat guilty omnivore. I also have vegan friends, so it will be nice to have some tasty recipes in my back pocket for get-togethers. I had already pre-ordered this book before Natalie contacted me to check out a free copy, but when someone asks if you’ll post a recipe for Banana Bread French Toast Cupcakes … YOU SAY YES. What Natalie may not know… is that … I AM THE WORST BAKER EVER. But I always give it my best! I’m optimistically terrible. And what I like about the recipes as I’m flipping through them is that a lot of them fit on one page. This tricks amateurs like me into thinking that the recipes will be really easy, which I like very much, and it keeps me optimistic. Some morsels that catch my eye are: Totchos (tater tot nachos), Spaghetti Cake with Grandma Sharon’s Hater-Proof Sauce, and Whole Wheat Choco-Coconut Donuts! PLUS, the photography is gorgeous AND there are bad-ass illustrations by the one and only Betty Turbo. And now for your viewing pleasure: Banana Bread French Toast Cupcakes. (My cooking confessions and video summary are below the recipe.) ********** Makes 12 cupcakes Ingredients CUPCAKES: ½ cup (113 g) mashed overripe banana 1 ¼ cups (156 g) all-purpose flour ¼ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon salt ¾ cup (150 g) sugar 1/3  cup (80 ml) canola oil 2⁄3 cup (160 ml) rice or soy milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon almond extract ½ cup (60 g) chopped, toasted walnuts VEGAN MAPLE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING: 2 cups (250 g) confectioners’ sugar 6 tablespoons (85 g) nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening 6 tablespoons (85 g) vegan margarine 2 tablespoons (40 g) pure maple syrup ½ teaspoon maple flavoring Pinch of salt Directions Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a twelve-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Throw your mashed banana in a blender or just smash it with a fork. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and sugar into a large bowl and mix well. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, rice milk, vanilla, almond extract and mashed banana. Stir or fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Small lumps are fine. Finally, add the walnuts, folding gently. Fill the liners two-thirds full. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely before frosting. To make the vegan maple buttercream frosting, beat all the ingredients together in a bowl until they’re light and fluffy. […]

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How to Make IDGAF Cheese Crackers, by Twinkie Chan

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Sooooo Christmas of 2011, I decided to buy a cookie press and make some spritz cookies. I was like, “OMG THIS IS SO FUN! I WILL USE MY COOKIE PRESS EVERYDAY! EVERY EVERY DAY!!!” I never used it ever again. But tonight. Oh, tonight. I resurrected the cookie press and finally attempted to make some home made CHEESE CRACKERS!!!! AWWW YEAH CHEESE YEAH! I love Cheezits so much, that I literally make myself sick. My buddy Pickle once asked me, “What do you like most? The Cheez? Or the Its?” WHO CAN CHOOSE!? Needless to say, this was like my most humongous kitchen debacle. My cheese crackers look like cat chow and they smell like Bibi’s feet. Let’s go on this journey together. I used the recipe from the Wilton website, Wilton being the maker of my cookie press. I know I should have done a little more research, but …. say it all together…. IDGAF! Actually, I do, but I’m also lazy. Here are your ingredients: 1 pound sharp cheddar or aged swiss finely shredded 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce Dash hot red pepper sauce 1 1/2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon paprika I am a very serious chef, and I only use VERY SERIOUSLY SHARP CHEDDAR. As should you. I wanted to get yellow cheddar because cheddar is supposed to be yellow in my book. But Hairy is a food snob and insisted on white cheddar. Plus, he got all cheesenerdy with some dude at Andronico’s, and they were like, “Good sir, you must select a cheese from Vermont.” “Right-o, good sir, I shall!”   1. I attacked the aerobic portion of the recipe first: grating 1 lb of cheese. I gave up after .5 lb, which ended up being the best decision of the whole night. You may think this was due to laziness, but the real reason was my plate was overflowing with cheese, and I didn’t think I had enough large bowls for mixing everything together. SO MUCH CHEESE. So I cut the whole recipe in half. 2. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a medium bowl, cream the cheese, butter, Worcestershire sauce and hot red pepper sauce until smooth. So, what exactly does it mean to cream something, because I attempted to do this, but it was basically like trying to turn the cheese powder from your pizza delivery into a liquid. Like, it’s not gonna happen! It was like 80 million parts cheese to 1 part worcester sauce and butter. I already knew this was a terrible, terrible sign. “Cream” was not what I had. I had superstiff cheeze playdough. 3. In separate bowl, toss flour and seasonings with fork. Gradually add to cheese mixture. I added my cheese playdough by small chunks. What appeared in my mixing bowl was first like a pile of pebbles and then later like a bucket of sand. Great dough, right!? 4. Mix until dough holds together and shape into small logs. Sand is just […]

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How To Make IDGAF Banana Nut Bread, by Twinkie Chan

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Sometimes I feel like I’m gonna get really healthy and eat a bunch of fruit n stuff, so I’ll buy some bananas and eat like ONE. Fast forward a week, and I have two really nasty looking bananas. Instead of throwing them away, I decide to make Renee’s banana nut bread. When I lived with Renee, she would make one loaf with nuts and one with chocolate chips to satisfy the needs of the household. In 2008, I asked her for the recipe. This is the first time I ever tried to use it.  I decide to go crazy and make one with chocolate chips AND NUTS. So I wait until my bananas are REEAAALLLY RIPE. Like fully 100% brown on the outside. And then I get crazybusy with my art show deadline. Then Lisa Fulmer tells me to freeze them nanners, so I do. Then I defrost them in the fridge, and they leak out their BANANA ESSENCE all over the fridge, which looks like maple syrup and which I clean up and don’t tell Hairy about. I wonder if my bananas have begun to ferment, because they are really slimy, like so slimy  it almost makes me want to barf when I free them from their blackened skins. But I still use them. So what if they are fermenting? That will just make banana bread FOR GROWN UPS, and I am one of those! I am not a chef. I am not a baker. I want some banana nut bread, I don’t know what I’m doing, I make some stuff up, and IDGAF. Search your email from 2008 for Renee’s sour cream banana bread recipe. Discover that Renee’s delicious bread is from this recipe at What! SIX BANANAS? WHAT ABOUT TWO!? Renee has made notes for a 2/3 recipe, so all you have to do is 1/2 that one (maths!). Your ingredients look like this: 1/4 cup Earth Balance fake butter stuff (cuz that’s what’s in the fridge) 1 cup white sugar 1 egg 2 crazy ripe banana slime aliens that require no further mashing as they are nearly liquid form a little more than 1/2 of an 8 oz container of sour cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/6 teaspoon salt which means a SMIDGEful 1 teaspoons baking soda – which you don’t have. So you put in 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, which you do have, and seem to recall that baking powder contains baking soda, so it can’t be THAT wrong……right?…. IDGAF 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup chocolate chips 1/2 cup …. wait for it …. HAZELNUTS! AW YEAH! GO CRAZY, HAZELNUTS! YOU LOVE HAZELNUTS! They are your favorite nut. Nobody else is eating this banana nut bread except you, cuz everybody hates banana bread, so you get to pick whatever nuts you want! First things first. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease and sprinkle a sugar/cinnamon mixture onto your loaf pans. You’re using mini loaf pans cuz […]

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