Best Easy Chocolate Pudding Recipe Ever

Is actually this one from Allrecipes. Sometimes, rando internet recipes turn out rad. No shame in microwaving your pudding, sometimes. Less to clean up!

ETA: It also makes a huge difference if you use whole milk and dutched cocoa, because they add much richer flavor.

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With This Stand Mixer, I Become A Woman

I get a sick enjoyment out of watching shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” and “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.” Those shows clearly delineate gender roles: women are wedding-obsessed harpies, men are dull-witted things to be ensnared, The Wedding Is The Most Important Thing, etc. The occasional gay or gender-nonconforming person on those shows is often played for a joke or as a plot complication.

And yet, I enjoy the idea of someday wearing a ridiculous poufy dress and inviting all my friends and family to an awesome blow-out party. My groom will be a cardboard cut-out of Aragorn.

Despite bullshit television shows, I see our world changing what gender is, what morality is. Look at how morality changes: Once, a “moral” person didn’t have sex outside of marriage. These days, a “moral” person doesn’t have sex outside a committed relationship without their partner’s consent.

Along with the host of things changing in our world, I think we need new signifiers for what ‘adulthood’ is. Is adulthood when you get a place of your own? When you get married? When you have kids? Or maybe when you can support yourself? When you love people unselfishly? When you stop fretting so much about what other people think of you?

Well, I may still sleep on a mattress on the floor, but by God, I have a KitchenAid stand-up mixer. Between that and my good, sharp knives and cast iron pots and pans, I CAN MAKE ALL THE THINGS. Though I don’t have kids (God forbid), I can be the fierce lady in the kitchen who wields the power to feed people. Though, uh, my mom bought the mixer for my birthday.

Still not a grown-up. But getting toward something like it: the new definition of grownup, which is whatever I decide it will be.

Summer Dessert: Orange Dream Pie

First off, thanks to my friend Dan for giving me this idea. Facebook crowdsourcing for the win! I substituted fresh, ripe pluot slices for canned mandarin oranges because I’m fancy like that.

I’ve been looking for a good summery recipe that doesn’t involve elaborate baking or overly heavy flavors, so this refreshing fruity pie fits those bills while not skimping on calories. Calories are important.

Making pies always makes me want to watch the movie Waitress again. In my little fantasy Waitress world I give away the baby and keep Nathan Fillion, but the actual movie ending is cute, too.

A note on the pie crust: I like the organic Pacific brand that Good Food Store carries, it’s made with real butter and smells like angels when you bake it. Also: do remember to bake it, instead of pouring the filling into the raw shell and then having to dump it all out and wipe the crust real good before sticking it in the oven. Dammit. I hadn’t had my coffee yet, okay?

Also, I feel like a poser for not making my own pie crust, but it’s tough to do well without a food processor and I don’t want to inflict lumpy handmade dough on the people I feed.

A note on the whipped cream: Cool whip is the devil. Whip your own goddamn cream thusly: Put a cup of chilled heavy cream into a large bowl with a tablespoon of powdered sugar and some vanilla extract, and beat with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form. For bonus points with your boozy friends, stir a tablespoon of whiskey or rum into it.

A note on pluots: They’re a sweet, tasty combination between plums and apricots. You could also use nectarines, which are just peaches without the fuzz. Or whatever. It’s your pie. Make sure you use something good and ripe, though, lest your pie be ruined by gnawing on tough, unripe slices.

Orange Dream Pie (Makes One)

Baked deep dish pie crust, cooled

2 cups whipped cream

Half a quart of orange yogurt

Two or three pluots, plums or nectarines, sliced about  1/4 inch thin

In a bowl, use a spatula to combine whipped  cream and orange yogurt until smooth. Pour into pie shell. Arrange fruit slices on top and freeze until firmish, about 20 to 30 minutes. Important: don’t let this freeze completely solid, or it will take approximately two Game of Thrones episodes to thaw enough to cut.

Slice just before serving.

My Favorite Cookie: The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever

The sugar cookie recipe taped inside the cupboard. Also, pork should reach 140 degrees.

Recently I came upon a marvelous, life-changing epiphany. No, not what I want to do with my career or whether I’m making good decisions, but something rather more crucial: my favorite cookie recipe.

The most perfectly crisp, buttery, rich cookie ever, it’s good plain, dunked into tea, or dressed up with all kinds of frosting and sprinkles.

Notes: you can’t mix this one by hand unless you are insanely determined and muscular. Use a stand-up mixer, like a KitchenAid, or halve the recipe and use a hand mixer. Don’t skip the Crisco, either. The stuff is cheap and lasts forever, so you might as well buy some.

Best-Ever Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter

1/3 cup Crisco

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

2 1/2 tablespoons milk

4 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Using a stand-up mixer, cream together butter, crisco and sugar for about five minutes on high speed until fluffy. On a slower speed, mix in vanilla, eggs and milk. When incorporated, start mixing in flour, a cup at a time, until well mixed and it strongly resembles cookie dough. You know what cookie dough looks like, right? Try not to eat it all before dividing it into four chunks, wrapping it in wax paper and letting chill in the fridge for an hour.

When dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and cover cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough, cut into whatever shapes you find amusing, and bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Makes: many cookies, but never enough.

Homemade Whole-Wheat Chewy Granola Bars

Oats and dried fruit go into Ellen's awesome granola bars.

Note: Poor, Drunk and Hungry is officially a “we,” because now you have two witty Whittle sisters bringing you advice and musings on food! I (Kate) just graduated college, and Ellen is an incoming freshman, so she’s coming on board! You’ll find she cusses less and actually cares about healthy eating. But other than that, well, we’ve always said we’re just twins born four years apart. Here’s her first post.

So I’ve been cooking and baking for a few months now, and learning everything the hard way and having a great time doing it.  Part of my recent interest in cooking is my sudden desire to eat healthy. I began to actually look at nutrition labels and understand what was good or bad. I would be ashamed of myself for not knowing this sooner, except I think I might not be alone in this.  Anyway, the benefit of making something yourself is that you know exactly what’s in it.  That might seem obvious, but it took me seventeen years to figure out.

With that in mind: granola bars! Whenever you find recipes for these they’re usually under the kids’ snacks section, which I think is bull crap. I love granola bars. They’re handy for cold lunches, breakfast, and best of all, hiking. Sure, you can find those low-carb ones they sell at about five per box, but damn, they’re expensive.* (On a vaguely-related side note, I once tried to figure out if movie popcorn is literally worth its weight in gold. Turns out it’s definitely not, but that’s still some mighty big price markup.)

The great thing about granola bars is that you probably have enough crap in your kitchen to throw together a random batch at any given point. I hate having to shop for special ingredients.

When I’m making the bars for myself, I use applesauce, but my mom likes to use eggs so when I’m making them for my parents I use one beaten egg. Applesauce makes for a softer, more moist bar. The egg makes a harder granola bar, probably more suited for carrying with you on hikes and stuff. As to the main flavor of the bar, you can totally mess around with this. You can throw in raisins, Craisins, nuts, seeds, marshmallows, whatever you like. Or you can toss in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to make more of a delicious cookie.

Ellen’s Best Homemade Granola Bars Ever
2 cups quick oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup crisped rice cereal
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour**
3/4 cup raisins, dried cranberries, almonds, whatever you please
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup applesauce (or 1 egg, beaten)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together honey, oil, egg/applesauce and flavor extracts. Make a well in the bottom of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet mixture.

Once mixed, pour onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking oil. When pouring it into the pan, use a spatula to manhandle the batter into a thin square, and use your fingers to press the edges firm. (Be OCD about it or the edges will be crumbly when you cut it up, and make you mad because you want perfect store-bought shaped granola bars. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) A standard size baking sheet is fine even though it won’t take up the whole sheet.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Give them five minutes to cool, and then cut them up before they get too hard.  If you cut them into fairly good size bars it’ll make 12. Then feed them to some passing children because apparently adults*** can’t eat granola bars.

Screw that. Eat them all yourself!

*Plus, the idea of a low-carb granola bar is stupid. –Ed

**You can substitute equal parts white and wheat flour if you don’t have whole-wheat pastry flour on hand. –Ed.

***It’s cute how freshman girls think they’re adults, isn’t it? –Ed.

Homemade Snickers Bars

Homemade Snickers. I didn't even bother with the top layer.

(Here’s my print column that appeared in the paper today. But with a pretty photo!)

Yes, kids, this is it: the last ever Montana Kaimin edition of “Poor, drunk and hungry.” I’m still blogging at poordrunkandhungry.com (Bookmark it! Send a link to your mom!), but you’ll see my gleeful mug in this paper no more, because, bitches, I am OUT of here. (Assuming I pass botany.) I’ll miss a lot about college. But, man, I am stoked to not deal with CyberBear or MontPIRG petitioners ever again.

I’ll definitely be poor and hungry for a while, since I’m getting a print journalism degree, which doesn’t seem to be worth the paper we no longer do journalism on anymore. Support my industry! Buy a newspaper! They’re useful for crossword puzzles and packing material.

And while I encourage you all to eat healthy, I’m leaving you with this downright lethal recipe for homemade Snickers bars. They’re incredibly simple: All you do is melt/cook a layer, let it cool, then add another one. These are amazing.

Thanks to everybody for a good year, especially the culinary students who email me to tell me I make soup the wrong way and people who come up in bars and say, “Hey, don’t you do that column?”

Homemade Snickers Bars

First Layer:

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butterscotch chips
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter

Melt together in a microwave, stirring often. Spread to a 1/4-inch thickness in a greased 8-inch square pan. Refrigerate.

Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2/3 cup marshmallow creme (like Jet Puffed)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Melt butter in a saucepan, add sugar and milk and bring to a boil. Stir for 5 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow creme, peanut butter and peanuts. Spread over first layer, let cool.

Caramel layer:

  • 1/2 bag of caramels (about 1/2 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • Melt in microwave, stirring until smooth. Pour over the filling.

Top layer:

Repeat as for bottom layer. When cool, slice up into bars. Try not to eat the whole pan.

Ginger and Molasses Cupcakes

ginger molasses cupcakes

This is not the greatest recipe in the world. This is just a tribute.*

See, once I took a recipe for chocolate-gingerbread cookies and combined it with a recipe for ginger molasses cupcakes, and ended up with something that was either a really dense cupcake or a really puffy cookie. They were amazing and rich and chewy. My roommates’ been begging me to make them again and I haven’t made them in like a year.

So this time, I actually just followed the recipe for the cupcakes. It came out pretty darn good, and gingery as fuck. I add powdered ginger and some cocoa just to deepen the flavor. I minced the ginger, which works fine, but I think next time I’ll grate it so there isn’t any chunks. I’m also formulating how to remake my awesome cookie-cake combo, so stay tuned for that.

Adapted from Martha Stewart:

Ginger Molasses Cupcakes (makes 12)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) melted

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsulfured molasses

2 small eggs

3 tablespoons hot water or milk

4 ounces ginger, peeled and grated (this came out to about 1/3 cup of ginger for me)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake papers, or spray with canola oil. In one bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk wet ingredients, adding molasses before the eggs. Fold minced ginger into batter. Pour into cupcake papers. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Let ’em cool as long as you can bear it and then serve. You can top these with whipped cream, if you like, but we eat them too fast to even bother with it.

*And yes, Tenacious D references are incredibly hip.