Posts Tagged 'work'

Pipe Dream #163: To Not Squeeze Ya Too Tight – Pumpkin Tiramisu & Pumpkin Spice Fudge

pump tiramisu 1

All right.This is it. This is the new year. We are all supposed to be turning over new leaves. And here I am trying to squeeze in more pumpkin posts. I just apologize. And by way of apology, I present you with two recipes that are probably a bit too holiday to handle. So, a bad apology on all counts. Just don’t call me lazy, ok? Because these are actually pretty swell.

pump tiramisu 2

At least, the fudge is. The tiramisu, meh. It was an experiment on my part, and I would have preferred that the pumpkin-mascarpone be a little smoother. The method wasn’t exactly like traditional tiramisu cream. Plus, instant coffee that I soaked the ladyfingers in was cheap and too strong and awful. At least the cookies were homemade. If anyone can tell me how to remove a tiramisu from the bottom of a springform pan without wrecking it, I would be most grateful.


pump tiramisu 3

Like a good wine, this dish does get better with age, so try it, and if you don’t like it, stick it in the fridge for a month. Maybe it’ll come out amazing. Oh! And you can tots make this in advance. It’s a great party dessert.

pump fudge 1

My only suggestion on the fudge is to cook it for a little less time than I did. I followed the recipe, but I think my candy thermometer may be off because it took ages for the fudge to reach the correct temp.

pump fudge 2

Still it was a total winner. Nuts or no. I’ve literally had this recipe in my “To Try ” folder for a year. Finally!

Don’t go nuts, now. No more pumpkin. Except if I decide to post a pumpkin pull apart bread that I made. It’s in the works. If you have strong objections, you can let me know.

Recovering still,


Pumpkin Tiramisu

Adapted from Italian Food Forever

1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
a bunch of ladyfinger cookies, maybe 30
1/3 cup light rum + a shot of strong espresso, cooled + 1/3 cup maple syrup
Mix together the espresso, rum and maple syrup in a shallow bowl.
Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form, then add in the powdered sugar gradually near-stiff peaks form. Remove to a bowl. Beat the mascarpone on medium-low speed until creamy, then stir in the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Take one quarter of the whipped cream and fold it into the mascarpone-pumpkin mixture, then fold in the mascarpone mix to the whipped cream.
Dip each ladyfinger in the rum-espresso mixture, coating both sides, then lining the bottom of a 9 inch or 10 inch springform pan, cutting to fit as needed. Top the first layer of cookies with 1/3 of the pumpkin mixture. Repeat twice more, ending with a final layer of the pumpkin mixture. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu at least 8 hours or overnight.
To unmold, first run a knife around the inside of the pan and remove the side. If you want, you can sift some dark cocoa powder over the top for effect. I did.

Pumpkin Spice Fudge

You can find the recipe here. Thanks, C.

Pipe Dream #162: To Get Fibrous – Coconut Oatmeal Chewy Cookies

Hm, these cookies. They were pretty simple. I figured we could ease back in to things after the holidays, you see. Wouldn’t want to make you sick thinking of things like this chocolate peanut butter cake I busted out while I was away…

reeses cake 1

Mostly I just wanted an excuse to try this frosting. Now. Cookies. I made them after work, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked them. Normally I don’t think much of coconut, but it added a nice texture to these cookies. Combined with oats, they are practically health food. Mid-week fiber, man.

Typical cookie prep. Mix ’til fluffy Dry ingredients. Scoop. Bake. Eat while warm. Or cool.

Here for all your mid-week cravings/nutrient needs,


Coconut Oatmeal Chewy Cookies

Slightly adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (2 sticks), butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
2-½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup quick oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients (if you’re really on top of things, you could sift the dry ingredients together first), and mix until combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the cookies are set but not overly browned. If you want them crispy, you could go a few minutes longer…but why would you want that?

Cookie Exchange: Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

choc sugar cookie 1

Why do I decorate sugar cookies?

I almost loathe it because it requires perfection, a trait of which I am in short supply. It also requires back-bending concentration for hours on end. And it requires whipping eggs whites.

dark choc sugar cookie 7

I think I do it because I feel like it is the “thing” at Christmas-time. Like, everyone’s family decorates those thin sugar cookies together. It’s weird that I think this because my family never did it. We do our Christmas cookies more like this.

dark choc sugar cookie 5

Perhaps I do it because they end up usually pretty much as cuteness.

There are several different ways you can frost these. I tried out a bunch of ways this year based on my mood/event:

dark choc sugar cookies a

dark choc sugar cookie 3

Way #1: Straight Up Royal Icing

No flooding on these babies, just classy piped royal icing and dragees.

dark choc sugar cookie 4

Way #2: Royal Icing + Flood Icing

This is probably the most finnicky way. Plan out a whole day, so that you don’t stress out about being at fun things on time and then get impatient about your piping.

dark choc sugar cookie 8

Way #3: Milk & Powdered Sugar

This is the quick ‘n dirty way of frosting cookies. For this batch, I made the glaze thick enough that I could spread it with the back of a spoon, which was the perfect method for the cookie-decorating party I was going to. However, if you are doing a seriously large batch, like the 500 cookies I made at school in England last year, you can go so far as to dunk the entire cookie in a thinned out glaze. Beware, your counters might look a bit like this when you’re through.

You could also try just dusting them with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. I love the contrast of the dark cookie with white frosting.

dark choc sugar cookie 2

dark choc sugar cookies b

The cookie recipe made over 100 cookies for me, providing ample supply for approximately 1 church event, 1 work event, 1 card club hosting and our family’s various cookie exchanges. They freeze well, so I just made a big batch of cookies one night, and then took them out in small batches to decorate and serve.

Go crazy, friends! You know, if you want to literally go crazy trying to decorate that many cookies. Might wanna halve this one, as it is only, oh, 5 days before Christmas.


Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

You can find Sweetapolita’s recipe here.

You can find a royal icing recipe on my blog here.

If you want to go the milk/p sugar route, just mix 1/4 cup powdered sugar with milk or water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency.

Pipe Dream #160: To Fake Out Backdrops

I posted one of my dad’s headshots a few weeks ago in the hope that it would keep you coming back to my blog…
:] …and here you are.

Anyway, little known fact: he is actually standing in front of my garage door. I was feeling uninspired, and I figured this was a neutral enough background for a business-y shot. It’s not like I have a studio in my house I deal in natural light, people. But enough excuses.

How often do you do this with photos? Angle strategically to find the perfect background that doesn’t include an off-color or bad lighting or an unattractive advertisement (my particular pet peeve). I feel like I do it all the time, and I can’t decide if it makes me an inauthentic photographer. Oh, art.

If you can, indeed, call these art.

Authentically yours,


Pipe Dream #156: To Test Bless, Probs Less – S’mores Cookie Bars

I feel like I have had a lot of marshmallow/chocolate posts recently. Do you mind? I think it is my fix. Going crazy on a Wednesday night like, “I need marshmallows!”

Or in this case, and ultra-thick, brown sugar cookie with toasted marshmallows topped with dark chocolate and grahams that just so happens to slice nicely into massive bars. I found this recipe and died. And then I made it and died again. It is better than my previous obsession with s’mores bars. The thing is, it doesn’t really even taste like a s’more. The graham crackers on the top are really just a nod to that flavor. All the same, let’s call it a s’mores bar. Why not?

Some high quality good there. For some reason, the second time I made this, the chocolate split when I added the milk. I think I burned the chocolate. Lame sauce, lit.

I am sorry. OMWORD the toasted marshmallows. The original recipe called for regular marshmallows, but I opted for the giant kind, which I sliced in half and squished in. As you can see below, I felt the need to “smooth out” the tops of the bars by eating picking off all of the offensively sticky-outy toasted tops. It worked out.

Also, Wonk-esque. My blog stats show which different Google searches refer people to my blog. Among the top searches: “Opening scene from Willy Wonka.” I’ve never been more proud.

These keep well and travel well, so bless someone you know with these bars. After, you know, test-blessing yourself a couple of times.


S’mores Cookie Bars

Adapted from Heather Likes Food

For the base:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-½ tablespoon vanilla extract
2 whole eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoons salt

For the filling:
16 whole extra large marshmallows, or 32 regular ones

For the topping:
1-½ cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cups milk
½ cups graham cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°F.

For the cookie base:

Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl until liquefied. Using a sturdy spatula, stir in both sugars and vanilla extract. Add in eggs and stir until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until no dry spots remain. Spoon cookie dough into a greased 9×13″ baking pan and spread into an even layer.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs. While the base is baking, cut the extra large marshmallows in half the hamburger way. Remove pan from oven and top with the marshmallows, however many you can fit over the top.

Return cookie bars to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the marshmallows are puffy and melted. Remove pan from the oven and let cookie bars cool completely. (I didn’t let them cool completely. It was fine.)

For the chocolate topping:

In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and butter. Begin to melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each additional 30 second heating. Continue heating until almost all the chocolate is melted, then stir stir stir to melt the last bits. I made these twice and burned the chocolate the second time. Don’t be like me. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the milk.

Spread chocolate mixture over the cooled (or not) cookie bars. Top with graham cracker crumbs. Allow the chocolate to set before slicing into squares.

Pipe Dream #153: To De-Frag – Creamy Peanut Butter Desert Fudge

I had a few concerns about posting this recipe. Ok, I had just one concern.

I felt that the visuals were below par. You may note the extremely fragged top of these fudge squares. FraggED due to my impatience and disinterest in being perfect.

But here’s the thing. I got over my concern pretty quickly, given the fact that this recipe is  a must-make for your next holiday gathering. Must. 1) It is super simple and no-fail. 2) It is highly, highly addictive, which means that you have to make it for an occasion or you will be eating all of it alone. I took mine to work, and people kept shooting me nasty emails like, “Lauren, why did you bring this in??? I’m on my third piece. I’m dying.” Or something like that.

Besides, I figured posting it would be good for my humility.

These are a few of my favorite things. White on white on white, which I hear is “fresh” these days.

And of course, my most favorite things. Combined. I am smiling just looking at those two together. Everyone knows they are such a great couple. Made for each other, probably.


Now, all you have to do in order to make vast improvements on my fail of this recipe is to wait until the fudge is all the way set before you cut it. Just wait! Unless you are somewhat attracted to the arty cracks. You could, like, build a food landscape or something. Ooh! You could also dress up this fudge a little bit, sprinkling the tops with pralines or chocolate or drizzling with peanut butter before it is set. Wild.

Humbled ever and anon,


Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge

Adapted from Shugary Sweets

3 cups white sugar
¾ cups unsalted butter
1 pinch salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups white chocolate chips
7 ounces marshmallow cream
¾ cups creamy peanut butter

Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang of foil/paper on two sides of the pan to use as a handle later. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the sugar, butter, salt and heavy cream until combined. Bring to a rolling boil and stir continuously for 4 minutes.

While that mixture is heating, mix the white chocolate, marshmallow cream and peanut butter until well-blended.

After four minutes, immediately remove boiling mixture from heat.  Whisk in white chocolate/marshmallow cream/peanut butter mixture. Pour fudge into prepared pan and refrigerate for 3 hours. Do not be like me and become impatient, or you will have desert fudge on your hands.

Remove fudge from pan using the paper handles. Cut into pieces and store in an airtight container between wax paper layers.

Favorite Shots: Dad, Ambassador

This is a preview of my dad’s headshots for “business purposes.” I’ll put ’em up in a while. Hasn’t he aged well? I think so.


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